Politics Beyond Borders : The Political Sociology of Emigration

Working paper in french.

This paper seeks to develop a framework for analyzing the political sociology of emigration. The paper emphasizes the dualities at the heart of the migration phenomenon: immigrants are also emigrants, aliens are also citizens, foreigners are also nationals, non-members are also members. At once of the sending state, but not in it, the migrants are members whose everyday cross-border connections and ongoing needs draw the sending state across the borders; residing abroad, however, their claims to belonging are undermined by their presence on foreign soil. At once in the receiving state but not of it, the migrants can access the economic and political resources available in their new home, using them to gain leverage in the home left behind; yet as outsiders, their rights are circumscribed and their acceptance is uncertain, vulnerabilities that can be aggravated if continuing homeland involvement triggers the suspicion of receiving state nationals. Both conditions activate interventions by home states seeking to influence and protect nationals abroad. While extension to the territory of another state keeps options inherently limited, even limited engagements can inflame the passions of receiving state nationals, already anxious about the foreigners in their midst.