chapter  2
15 Pages

Transnationality and the City


To speak of transnationality and the city is to challenge the paradigms that underlie most urban research and public policy. The term ‘transnationality’ places cities within the synergies and tensions of the mutual construction of the local, national, and global. It also situates migrants and their transnational connectivities fully within the forces that are constructive of ‘the urban’. Sometimes used as a synonym for what I would call transnational social fi elds and others call transnationalism, the term ‘transnationality’ can more usefully be used to signal the simultaneous socio-cultural, economic, and political processes of local and cross-border participation, sociality, membership, connection, and identifi cation. This reading of the term ‘transnationality’ emphasizes the concept of nationality embedded yet problematized by the term. Transnationality invokes both social processes of connection and belonging (Ribeiro 1994). By theorizing transnationality and the city, this chapter contributes to the growing understanding that scholars need to situate cities and their diverse inhabitants in multiple, interpenetrating scales of rationality. These interpenetrating dimensions of connection and identifi cation are produced and reproduced within both time and space (Amin and Graham 1997; Massey 2005; Mitchell 2003; Smith 2001).