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6 Transnationalism as Fragmentation of Globality: Ethnification and Strategies of Reterritorialization of Lithuanian Immigrants in the United States

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Chapter Summary

The paradigm of deterritorialization as weakening the ties between culture and place, which currently prevails in anthropological studies of international migration, encourages approaches to addressing current global flows of human (dis)locations as well as the processes of reterritorialization as re-rooting and re-claiming a sense of belonging to new territories. One analytical category in particular – identity politics from the migration perspective – is taken in this article as the focal point to understanding fragmented belonging and re-rooting, re-inscription and re-chartering strategies and practices of Euro-Americans in the United States. Based on anthropological fieldwork done among Americans of Lithuanian background in southeast Texas (in 2002 and 2004) and among the post-soviet immigrants from Eastern Europe now in Chicago (in 2006 and 2013), the article argues that the ethnic dimension is not only important to nation-states and multicultural state ethnic policies, but it is crucial in immigrant politics of identity. Migration is associated with processes of ethnification, where territorial in-rooted-ness is maintained transnationally, and reterritorialization of descent, social memory, and heritage is enacted locally. Fieldwork research is used to exemplify the configurations of contemporary ‘post-ethnic America’s’ ethnification, which quite often is based on multi-ethnic social remittances. It is believed that this is one of the promising ways in approaching contemporary migrants’ as well as migrant descendants’ identity fragmentation to go beyond rooted cosmopolitanism and fragmentation of globality per se.



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