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Transnational (Counter) Topographies

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Noting that much of the literature on transnationalism is gender blind, we consider what a focus on gender brings to understanding transnationalism. Tracing a feminist itinerary shows that there is nothing inherently transgressive or emancipatory about transnationalism. Rather, the effects are contradictory and complex, and must be assessed within specific times and places. Gender relations are often transformed through transnational migration, although 'gains' in gender equity tend to be uneven, hard fought for, and sometimes impermanent. Rather than weakening the nation-state, transnationalism is bound up with remaking the nation, often within renewed patriarchal norms of national belonging. So too, while transnationalism can open up new spaces of belonging, we argue that this is accomplished through specific connections between places rather than through (an often romanticised) deterritorialised mobility. Finally, we consider what feminist counter topographies can bring to transnational feminist politics.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of British Columbia Department of Geography, National University of Singapore

Publication date: June 1, 2003

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