When we talk about transnational literature, we really have to understand the relationship between transnationalism and immigration. Immigrant transnationalism may be in the simple form of regular communication, by phone or computer, by an immigrant worker back home; or perhaps an immigrant businessman conducting daily and multiple business matters in his home country.

In a wide context, immigrant transnationalism is basically regular activities that span borders by foreign born peoples as part of their day to day existence. These activities could be in literature or political, economic and socio-cultural ways. It is important to differentiate this regular activity with a simple visit back home now and then.

The Growth of Transnationalism

One of the main reasons that transnationalism is getting so much attention these days is because of its rapid growth. The way the global society interacts today is completely different to, say, fifty years ago. Transnationalism is greatly relevant to today’s workings of modern cities.

So a foundation of a transnational business framework helps the people, laying down business and political policies in a new way to view public-private partnerships or public programs. And due to the beneficial economic benefits of transnationalism, it provides great opportunities for business and social entrepreneurs, plus, of course, the governments.

The interaction of transnational activities can elevate and promote greater levels of multiculturalism by the creation of hybrid cultures. This consideration points to a broader development of personal identity, community and cultural thinking.

Transnationalism and Assimilation

The growing understanding of what transnationalism is truly about challenges traditional thinking about assimilation. Previously, it was thought that immigrants who have fully embraced their new host societies do not continue to engage in cultural, business, social activities of their original country of origin. This, as we are all starting to learn, is simply not the case.

Globalization, Immigration and Transnationalism

Studying why people immigrate has helped to understand the recent growth and connection of globalization on transnationalism. Traditionally, immigration has been driven by factors such as poverty, persecution and overpopulation in countries of origin. But is has been discovered that while the former reasons may put high pressure on somebody to immigrate, they are not enough reason to form large flows of migration. There are some countries that are renowned for being poor but have no history whatsoever of large scale migration.

Today the large immigration flows from the Southern Hemisphere to the Northern hemisphere are not made up of the poorest peoples but professionals. There are many countries that have plenty of working vacancies that suffer from large migrations. Therefore, it is not safe to make old assumptions that were the case once. Global migration today is a far different thing and the catalysts for migration from one country to another are far different today.

Immigrant integration has a profound effect on how transnationalism works in today’s modern world. Understanding of the reasons why the act of migration happen also opens up the door to the understanding of transnationalism. In part two of this blog we dig deeper into this relationship and how it affects cultural and literary exchanges.