New Approaches to Transnational Migration and Cultural Change

Ignacio Corona and Abril Trigo, editors

alter/nativas and the Migration and Transnationalism Working Group of The Ohio State University’s Center for Latin American Studies invite essays on the cultural impact of migration from, to, and throughout Latin America. This issue will focus on new interdisciplinary and/or disciplinary conceptualizations, methodological approaches, policy implications, and relevant case studies on the relationship between culture and migration in the transnational global context. This relationship can be examined from the perspective of the sending or receiving communities, or from that of the migrants’ themselves. Particular interest lies on approaches to short or long-term cultural change arguably due to migration. While scholars may disagree on how, and to what extent, migration generates measurable cultural change in groups, communities, and individuals and how to best study it, few would deny that as a whole migration is one of the main causal factors or catalyzers of such a change. From the emergence of new subjectivities, behavioral patterns, and attitudes to the migrants’ unique individual adaptation to their new environment; from change in economic culture in the sending communities to political and ethnic resistance in the receiving ones; from change in gender roles and values to change of religious affiliations; from change of patterns of cultural consumption to the emergence of trends of cultural production, a complex causal and multifactorial relation is inescapably –although so far imprecisely- established between migration and culture.

Furthermore, and mostly in individual terms, is such a cultural change a life-changing and irreversible phenomenon or can it be reversed or “unlearned” in the migrants’ reincorporation to their original communities? Migration experts, such as Tamar Jacoby, argue that returning migrants not only retain, but even transfer their new sets of skills, values, and knowledge to their original communities. Another question is to what extent these new sets may lose their meaning, or efficacy, and eventually fade amid those communities’ traditional cultural dynamics. These questions and lines of inquiry are timely as migration experts ascertain the new relevance of phenomena such as “net zero” Mexican migration after the 2008 U.S. economic crisis, which may remind U.S. and Latin American scholars that migratory circuits and fluxes can be altered and even reversed. More importantly, that migration may not always be a permanent or one-directional phenomenon, but a fluid and circular one, always subjected to the geoeconomic, geocultural and geopolitical variables of the global regime.

Essays of no more than 8,000 words and proposal in English, Spanish, or Portuguese should be submitted by June 18, 2014, including a 250-300 abstract, and a short author´s bio. All submissions or inquiries should be addressed to the issue co-editors Abril Trigo ( or Ignacio Corona (