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State-Led Transnationalism in South America. A Comparative Perspective

Open Panel

Abstract

The study of migrant transnationalism emerged and expanded out of the remarkable contributions of sociologists, anthropologists, geographers, and others, who have been leading the efforts to conceptualize old and new phenomena and define how transnational studies can contribute to the understanding of migration-related issues. From the political point of view, the movement of people across borders defies traditional characterizations of nation, nation-states, sovereignty, citizenship, and national identity. However, an emphasis on the bottom-up processes driving transnational migration and excessive disciplinary attachment to state-centered models have stood in the way of interdisciplinary dialogues and further development of political and international relations approaches. Also, the existing typologies explaining states’ initiatives to reach out to their emigrants are based on a biased sample of cases: mostly those with large or highly politicized diasporas and the ones that represent a challenge to the receiving countries. The gaps indicate the need to explore other cases and some relatively less researched context-specific variables, such as the role of the presidency rather than political parties, the impact of crises and socio-political re-building afterwards, the dynamics of coalition building under neopopulist regimes, and the connections between migration policy and foreign policy. This study offers a comparative analysis of state-led transnationalism as recently practiced by governments of several Andean and Southern Cone countries in Latin America (Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay). It addresses the above gaps and suggests further research venues.