ABSTRACT

The post-nation scholarly literature in English in general celebrates migrant/ diasporic transnationalism for its overtly positive positioning as a field despite and beyond the nation states. While transnationalism is seen as a process involving cross-border migrant/diasporic life, the practices and identities of transmigrants provide a counter-narrative to nations with a potential of unsettling the totalising national boundaries (Levitt and Sorenson 2004; Faist 2010; Bhabha 1990; Appadurai 1997). In particular, transnationalism from below, as a field created and maintained by participating people, has been appreciated for exceeding the imposing and restricting structures of the nation state system. It weakens essentialist affinities to a single nation and emphasises multifocality, with oppositional and subversive possibilities instead (Smith and Guarnizo 1998; Portes 1996).1 Migrant/diasporic transnationalism as a ‘social field’ is often seen as a site of dense nostalgia, love for homeland, and intense networks that crisscross the world into innumerable micro-territorialities. This is facilitated by recent developments in communication technologies and advances in modes of travel (Levitt and Schiller 2004; Heath et al. 2011). Migration studies has consequently taken a big turn from the paradigms of disjunctures and discontinuities, heading towards ‘connectedness’, continuities, and reinventions (Smart 2007; Levitt and Schiller 2004; Vertovec 1999). However, the celebrations of supra-national connectedness and social fields of nostalgia overlook some of the prevailing tensions of transnationalism, and some important questions to ask are:

a Are migrant transnational connections essentially demotic? b Does the prevailing literature privilege migrant homeland ties over their

multifarious priorities and considerations? c Would it be simplistic to paint migrants as eternal benefactors to their home,

and home as a treasure house of infinite benevolence and warmth?