Transnational affect and emotion in migration research

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Transnational migrants characteristically participate in an array of activities—mediated by flows of material objects and symbolic ties—to reproduce their transnational social fields. Scholars of transnationalism have generally understood it to be motivated by questions of identity, belonging, social memory, and sociality. However, in our own research, we have found the affective and emotional dimensions of transnational practice and believe that this represents a productive new theoretical and methodological approach that can advance our collective understanding of what motivates, compels, and structures transnational actors’ participation in transnational social fields, and reproduce emotional communities across borders and more broadly in the area of migration research. In this paper, we develop the notion of transnational affect and emotion to describe this emergent field of research. We argue that an array of affects such as shame, honour, pride, guilt, and obligation structure inter-subjective relationships and modes of reciprocity within transnational social fields.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-130
Number of pages15
JournalInternational journal of sociology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • transnational affect
  • transnational communities
  • transnational emotions
  • transnationalism


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