This module discovers what migration is and enables us to trace our own migration history

Networks, Communication and Transnationalism

In the 19th Century better travel conditions and means boosted global migration. New information and communication technologies simplify migration yet further today; they extend habitats and social relations across national borders. These new forms of migration, of life and of exchange often receive the prefix "trans" to make the characteristic extension beyond borders clear: transnationalism, transmigration and transmigrants.

Transmigrants feel at home in a so-called "transnational space": a space that crosses over national borders.

Often, we still think in "containers". Every person is therefore attributable to a nation-state container, with which he identifies himself. Either I'm Polish or I'm Belgian. According to the "container" way of thinking you have to make a choice. For many people this idea applies. They were born in their country, have rarely moved from their environment and have remained in their containers. However, many people switch between the containers or have softened the boundaries of the container itself. With (trans-) migration this classification is not as easy as it is not possible to easily identify the container.

As already mentioned, 200 million people live in a country other than their country of birth. However, at least twice as many are likely to live in a country other than where their parents were born. They do not appear among these 200 million migrants.

In addition to this half a billion people who migrate within their country are not included. Permanent change of residence and social space currently affect more than a billion people. This is many more than the United Nations identify as international migrants.

Read the following story of a Mexican migrant in the USA as written by the German sociologist Ludger Pries.

Between worlds