Center for Global Studies


Global Migration & Transnational Politics Project

With generous support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation of Chicago, George Mason University’s Center for Global Studies carries out a research program to explore the relationships between globalization, human mobility, and emerging forms of transnational political mobilization and communication. ‘Global Migration and Transnational Politics’ (hereafter GMTP) is a multi-year, crossdisciplinary project involving a network of scholars whose work deals with various aspects of the migration/politics nexus. Project activity includes academic workshops, a conference aimed at policymakers and practitioners, and a series of briefing papers. The GMTP initiative will culminate in the publication of an edited volume surveying the state of the art in terms of work being conducted in this field and laying the groundwork for new research agendas.

This project takes as its starting point the observation that political dynamics around the globe have been transformed by globalization, new patterns of human mobility, and the development of innovative transnational social networks. These new political processes are rooted in communities and networks that are not restricted by geographic location. Notwithstanding, politics remains fundamentally about local issues even while political processes are increasingly globalized.

These patterns may be seen in the new roles of diasporas in politics, where accelerating and expanding patterns of human mobility have resulted in significant populations that identify with a particular community and remain politically engaged in issues related to that group but are not resident in the “homeland” of that community at any given time. The question of how politics has been transformed by new forms of participation by increasingly mobile, transnational populations; however, has received little scholarly attention. GMTP will fill that gap and round out the field of globalization and migration studies by systematically investigating the links between politics and human mobility. It will provide an overview of this emergent field of interdisciplinary studies that builds on some of the more established areas of research but has its own set of fundamental questions and organizing concepts.

In April 2008 and March 2009, two workshops with over a dozen scholars were held in Arlington and Washington, DC, in order to discuss the various angles of the issue and generate a conceptual framework. Both workshops were the cornerstone of the fall-2011-published edited volume Politics From Afar: Transnational Diasporas and Networks. In June 2010, the article "Think Locally, Act Globally: Toward a Transnational Comparative Politics" was published in International Political Sociology. In April 2013, "THink Locally, Act Globally" was selected for inclusion in IPS' 2013 free virtual special issue on Territorialities, Spaces, Geographies. For working papers published under the aegis of the GMTP, click here. Additional information on the project is also available on the following website.

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