Territories of transnational social space: exclusion beyond nation-states
Professor Saša Božic, head of the Department of Sociology, University of Zadar, Croatia.
4.00pm, Thursday 29th May, Room 333, Áras Moyola, National University of Ireland Galway
Transnational migrant networks, transnational social movements and transnational families are often celebrated as a form of pure social relationship which managed to liberate itself from the constraints of territory and place as well as from the external social control of the institutions of nation-states. Social scientists successively accept the premises of the critique of “methodological nationalism” and stress that transnational networks produce social space which is independent from physical space and geographical constraints of national power containers. Within this perspective transnational social space is not affected by the nation-states’ borders and actors themselves together with their relations constitute space. The necessity to “materialise” and localise such relations apparently disappeared with the cheap communication technology and the subsequent space-time compression. The actors as constituents of transnational social spaces within such perspectives do not have to define, mark and limit physical space in the form of territory in order to organize and delimit their ties and relations. Transnational social space transcends the constraints of one enclosed place.
The growing evidence shows however that transnational migrant networks as dense ties across borders of nation-states find their expression in territoriality as a form of geographic manifestation of power. Transnational social space is exclusive and delimiting, created by the actors led by the principles of compatibility, similarity and selectiveness. Transnational social space can also be observed as an exercise of power because all those who are dissimilar, incompatible and not selected are excluded in advance and cannot constitute such space. Furthermore, territory is extrapolated from the transnational social space in the form of gathering and place. It is re-created in selected localities and then easily shifted to others, depending on the needs and practices of those who constitute social space. It is over and above compartmentalised surfaces and can be realised simultaneously in different localities.
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