chapter  5
20 Pages

Between Periphery and Center in the Haitian Diaspora: The Transnational Practices of Haitian Migrants in the Bahamas

ByERMITTE ST. JACQUES

Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s designation of the Haitian diaspora as the Tenth Department in 1990, an extension of the nine departmental regions of the country, illustrates the collective political, economic and cultural importance of Haitians living abroad (Basch, Glick Schiller and Szanton Blanc 1994; Glick Schiller and Fouron 2001). However, the individual power of the different Haitian communities that comprise the Tenth Department is not uniform. The destinations that form the geography of the Haitian diaspora demarcate central places as Miami and marginal locations as Nassau that correspond to their position within global and regional geopolitical hierarchies. Power dynamics within the Haitian diaspora, then, mimic the geopolitical confi guration of the settlement countries as well as represent the uneven status of migrants within the transnational community. At the same time, local conditions in the different countries of settlement structure transnational identities and practices. The specifi c social conditions of these destinations speak to the plurality of the transnational experience within the Haitian diaspora.