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Transnational citizens or circulating semi-proletarians?: A study of migration circulation between Sweden and Asia, Latin America and Africa between 1968 and 2002.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography and Economic History.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography and Economic History.
2006 (English)In: Population, Space and Place, ISSN 1544-8444, E-ISSN 1544-8452, Vol. 12, no 6, 517-527 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Theoretically significant research on transnational migrations has usually been based on in-depth qualitative studies with detailed case study data linked to specific contexts. The concept of transnationalism has been used to capture and theorise enduring and complex interchanges of people, things and ideas between places, regions and/or countries, that are separated by borders, and usually by large physical distances. Transnationalism has also been linked to accounts of intense forms of international migration under globalisation, often in contexts of unequal power relations. Rather few studies have tried to grasp the phenomenon in larger samples, examining its importance and characteristics over time in different migratory contexts. While sharing theoretical and epistemological understandings from the transnational research field, this paper explores the phenomenon by analysing a comprehensive set of quantitative data on long-distance frequent movers between Sweden and Asia, Latin America and Africa. By looking at the most mobile of all migrants in this South–North context, the paper explores the characteristics and scope of transnational migrations. The analyses show that transnational circulators, defined here as individuals who have migrated three times or more between Sweden and these regions, constitute a very small proportion of all South–North migrants over a 35-year period. They are more likely than other groups to be highly educated, male, low-income earners and Swedish citizens. These results contrast with other studies where transnational mobility of the highly skilled is often associated with successful career migration and high income groups. The conclusion of this paper is that, despite the high qualification level of circulators, long-distance circulation between Sweden and the global South is associated with negative income and labour market situations. The paper also questions the relevance of the concept of transnationalism itself in this specific context. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2006. Vol. 12, no 6, 517-527 p.
Keyword [en]
transnational migration, circular migration, mobility, Sweden, South-North migration
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-82699DOI: 10.1002/psp.423OAI: diva2:662307
Available from: 2013-11-06 Created: 2013-11-06 Last updated: 2014-01-21Bibliographically approved

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Tollefsen, AinaLindgren, Urban
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