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Engaging from Abroad: The Sociology of Emigrant Politics


This paper seeks to understand the politics of emigrants’ home country engagements, with a particular focus on experiences in the United States.  Long-distance emigrant politics, I argue, reflects the paradox of migration, which while inherently entailing mobility, is impelled by the unequal, territorial containment of resources, a feature of social life that both gives the migrants new found leverage over states and peoples left behindandconstrains their capacity to maintain cross-border connections. As I will show, the processes by which international migrations extend political ties across states collide with those that progressively bring migrants into the polities of the states on which they have converged; consequently, over the long term, the pursuit of emigrant politics turns into immigrant politics, embedding the former foreigners in the political life of the country where they actually reside.

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