“Citizens without Borders”?: Discussions of Transnationalism and Forced Migrants at the Ninth Conference of the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration, São Paulo, Brazil, January 2005

Michael Collyer


The significance of transnational perspectives at the ninth conference of the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM) marks a key change in the development of work on both forced migration and migrant transnationalism. A transnational perspective highlights significant policy interventions that can be made in the search for durable solutions to refugee displacement; most significantly, recognizing that a refugee’s community may be spread on a global scale, yet is nonetheless significant in supporting their own efforts to overcome the difficulties of their situation. It is equally important, however, to recognize that transnational activites do not always support pluralistic solutions to conflict. The transnational engagements of forced migrants also challenge a number of assumptions of existing transnational perspectives by directing attention to forms of exchanges and communication that do not necessariy involve the movements of people. Interest in transnational activities is currently concentrated amongst researchers working in the wealthier countries of the global North. Further work may determine if alternative perspectives are more appropriate for research based in the South.

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