Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance that he himself has spun...

Friday, March 31, 2017

Flophouse Citizenship and International Migration Reading List (March 2017)

Time for another update of the Flophouse citizenship/migration reading list. New books are in green. I highly recommend the titles below - read them and you will never look at citizenship or migration the same way again. All the underlined titles take you directly to the book on Amazon (US). I would really appreciate suggestions for other titles that might be of interest. I promise to read and add them to the list if I think they are good.

Frenchman into Peasants:  Modernity and Tradition in the Peopling of French Canada (1997) by Leslie P. Choquette.  Excellent research into the French who came to Canada.  She argues that many of them came from urban areas in France and then became farmers in Canada. 

Migration, Whiteness, and Cosmopolitanism:  Europeans in Japan (2016) by Milos Debnar. A fascinating look at Europeans (not North or South Americans) in Japan.  Looks at integration and other topics not usually addressed.

The Cosmopolites:  The Coming of the Global Citizen (2015) by Atossa Araxia Abrahamian.  A quick read but a good one.  She shows how cosmopolitan  does not begin to cover the diversity of those who claim that title.

At Home in Two Countries:  The Past and Future of Dual Citizenship (2016) by Peter J. Spiro.  The most interesting part of this book are Spiro's arguments for why dual citizenship could be considered a human right.  Spiro is a dual American/German citizen and he talks about why he chose to become a German citizen. 

The Changing Role of Nationality in International Law (2013) edited by Alessandra Annoni and Serena Forlati.  Some good essays in this volume about the impact of international human rights law on national laws.  There are international conventions concerning statelessness, political and social rights, freedom of movement, and the right to change one's nationality, but these can be interpreted at the country or supra-state level.  Serena Forlati's essay Nationality as a Human Right looks at the Right to Have a Nationality (UDHR/ICCPR/CRC) and shows how this right is limited at the nation-state level because states do not wish to give up their power to attribute and deprive people of their nationality - even when it conflicts with other nation's nationality laws or results in statelessness.

Military Migrants: Fighting for YOUR Country (2012) by Vron Ware.  In the first decade of the 21st century the British army, faced with deployments in Irak and Afghanistan, could not recruit enough soldiers locally.  So they turned to the young men and women of Commonwealth countries like Fiji and South Africa.  While these soldier/migrants served with UK citizens and swore the same oath to the Queen, they were still immigrants, not citizens.  A fascinating story that raises questions about the link between citizenship and service to a country. I highly recommend this one.

Return:  Nationalizing Transnational Mobility in Asia (2013) edited by Xiang Biao, Brenda S.A. Yeoh and Mika Toyota.  Some excellent essays in this collection about:  Japanese Brazilians; the Korean Chinese and their relationship to South Korea; Cambodians and the US deportation machine; and the regulation of circular migration between Malaysia and Indonesia.

If This is Your Land, Where Are Your Stories? (2010) by J. Edward Chamberlin.  This is a hard book to describe.  It's about stories - the ones we tell about ourselves, our people, and how we came to be here in this land (and not someplace else).   And the central question for me in this book is: how do we work through our differences when we have different myths, histories, narratives and memories about the very same place?

Global Marriage: Cross-Border Marriage Migration in Global Context (2010) by Lucy Williams.  Outstanding look at cross-border marriages from a global perspective.  Williams takes on the myths, stereotypes about foreign brides (and grooms) and counters them with solid research. A refreshing antidote to the many silly things said about those "marriage migrants."

The Scramble for Citizens: Dual Nationality and State Competition for Immigrants (2013) by David Cook-Martin.  A fine book that looks at migration from Spain and Italy to Argentina in one era and the reverse migration from Argentina back to Spain and Italy of those immigrants' descendants in another.  The author does a fine job of showing how it is almost impossible for a state to make (and make stick) immigration/emigration and citizenship law unilaterally.  There is a larger context with sending and receiving states competing for the productive power and loyalty of immigants and emigrants.

Democracy and the Foreigner (2003) by Bonnie Honig.  Great read.  Honig takes the idea of "the foreigner" as a vexing issue to be solved through assimilation or rejection and turns it around.  Are there circumstances when the stranger is not a problem at all, but rather a solution to what ails a community?

Migration and the Great Recession:  the Transatlantic Experience (2011) edited by Demetrios Papademetriou et al.  If you were wondering how the economic crisis in the first decade of the 21st century had an impact on migration, this book of essays from the Migration Policy Institute is good place to begin.  Data from the U.S., U.K., Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Sweden and Germany.

Anthropology and Migration: Essays on Transnationalism, Ethnicity, and Identity (2003) by Caroline Brettell. An anthropologist looks at migration, transnationalism, and assimilation/integration through a population she knows well: the Portuguese diaspora. (Flophouse review here.)

Moving Matters: Paths of Serial Migration (2013) by Susan Ossman. .A look into the minds of "serial migrants." Those who immigrate once (like all other migrants) and then do something that shatters the standard immigrant tale - they move on. (Flophouse review here.)

International Migration in the Age of Crisis and Globalization (2010) by Andres Solimano. The author is ambitious and confronts some of the most difficult topics around migration:  Why is International Migration Such a Contentious Issue?  Are Goods and Capital More Important than People?  Don't Always 'Blame' the North!

The Citizen and the Alien:  Dilemmas of Contemporary Membership (2006) by Linda Bosniak. Refreshing take on the dilemmas of citizenship and democratic ideals.  Who is included/excluded and on what basis?  The problem of democracy and the legal permanent resident. Complex questions with no easy answers.

A Nation of Emigrants:  How Mexico Manages Its Migration by David Fitzgerald (2009)  The internal American battle over immigration from Latin America is a very public debate but it's only half the story.  Mexico, the U.S.'s southern neighbor and a major sending country, has made and is still making policy to manage its emigration and its emigrants.  This is an extraordinary book and there is much to be learned from Mexico's efforts and policies - even when they have failed.

The Sovereign Citizen:  Denaturalization and the Origins of the American Republic (2013) by Patrick Weil  Really superb book.  Excellent research into the un-making of American citizens in the 20th century.  

Citizenship and Those Who Leave:  The Politics of Emigration and Expatriation by Nancy L. Green and Francois Weil (2007)  I contend that you cannot talk about immigration without also discussing emigration.  A fine work - excellent chapters on how states (UK, Holland, U.S., France and others) have tried to manage emigration.

Citizenship and Immigration by Christian Joppke (2010) This one covers a wide variety of old and new ideas about citizenship.  A good place to begin for someone who is just delving into how immigration/emigration and citizenship are entwined. Joppke refutes the idea of the decline of citizenship - an argument worth reading..

International Migration and the Globalization of Domestic Politics edited by Rey Koslowski.  Some very good insights into how international migration and diaspora politics affect politics back in the home country.

Immigration and Citizenship in Japan by Erin Aeran Chung (2010) Excellent book about Japan as a country of immigration. "Japan is currently the only advanced industrial democracy with a fourth-generation immigrant problem." Chung tells the story of how this came about and the impact this has had on modern Japanese citizenship law.

Rights and Duties of Dual Nationals:  Evolution and Prospects edited by David A. Martin and Kay Hailbronner (2003)  Fine set of articles on dual citizenship and such things as military service, extradition, political rights (Peter Spiro), denationalization and many others.  Pricey but worth every penny.

International Migration and Citizenship Today by Niklaus Steiner (2009).  A very fine book on the political, economic and cultural impact of immigration.  

Citizenship Today: Global Perspectives and Practices edited by T. Alexander Aleinikoff and Douglas Klusmeyer (2001).  This was one of the best books I read on the topic of citizenship with essays by Patrick Weil, Karen Knop and Richard T. Ford, among many others.   

States without Nations:  Citizenship for Mortals by Jacqueline Stevens (2009) A strong critique of birthright citizenship in all forms and a call for citizenship based on residency.  

The Perils of Belonging: Authochthony, Citizenship, and Exclusion in Africa and Europe by Peter Geschier (2009).  Outstanding read.  States make citizens and states can also "unmake" them.  Nativism and the never-ending debate over who really "belongs."

The Politics of Citizenship in Europe by Marc Morje Howard (2009).  A really fine study of the citizenship policies of the oldest member-states of the EU.  Read this book to grasp how citizenship laws have changed over time and the reasons why.

The Future Governance of Citizenship by Dora Kostakopoulou ((2008).  Good overview of the current citizenship models and a proposal for an "anational" citizenship framework.

Beyond Citizenship:  American Identity After Globalization by Peter Spiro (2008).  Excellent book that examines how globalization has changed the value of citizenship overall and American citizenship in particular.  Very thoughtful.  Very well-written.

Qu'est-ce qu'un Français? by Patrick Weil (2002).  Mr. Weil spent over 8 years in the archives researching this book and it is fascinating.  France has been something of a test lab for just about every combination of jus soli and jus sanguinis citizenship possible. 

Gender and International Migration in Europe by Eleonore Kofman, Annie Phizacklea, Parvati Raghuram and Rosemary Sales (2000).  If you are looking for some empirical evidence for how migration, immigration policy and citizenship rights have different outcomes and impacts for women, this is a good place to start.

The Birthright Lottery:  Citizenship and Global Inequality by Ayelet Shacher (2009) An attack on both jus soli and jus sanguinis methods of transmitting citizenship.  Fascinating argument.

Aliens in Medieval Law:  the Origins of Modern Citizenship by Keechang Kim ((2000). This book since it has a very original take on the historical roots of modern citizenship.  I recommend it highly. 

Human Rights or Citizenship? by Paulina Tambakaki (2010)  Interesting ideas about how traditional models of citizenship and  human rights legislation are in conflict.

Let Them In:  the Case for Open Borders by Jason L. Riley (2008)  The author makes a very radical argument for simply opening the doors and letting people move where they wish.

For info I have created a Citizenship and Migration book list on Goodread's Listopia here.  Good place to read reviews and find quotations from the above books.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Hans Rosling RIP

Last month Hans Rosling, the man who made statistics sing and dance, died in Sweden.  I've posted some of his TED talks here at the Flophouse.   Not only was a great speaker but his way of presenting data made it accessible to anyone.  And I adored the way he put statistics in perspective - what Braudel called the longue durée.  Using statistics from the 19th century to the present, he showed how things evolved in the hope of correcting misconceptions about the world we live in now.  It was a worthy goal and I think he succeeded beautifully. 

In 2015 Rosling gave a presentation in Singapore.  Like all his other presentations, it is brilliant and funny.  "Numbers are boring," he said, "People are interesting."  Amen to that.





Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Some thoughts about integration

A few years ago here in Japan a friend and I were standing outside a bus stop in Kyoto trying to orient ourselves in order to find the temple we wanted to visit.  My friend is a fluent speaker of Japanese and has lived in Japan for over 20 years.  A Japanese couple came over and, in English, asked if we needed help.  My friend replied in Japanese, but the couple continued to speak English.

Fast forward a few months to another continent where another friend and I were in a restaurant in Paris.  We are both fluent French speakers but now matter how many times we replied in French, the French waiter insisted on using English.

Oh, the shame, the horror, of being taken for a tourist.

These may appear to be trivial examples (the native citizens were just trying to be kind and helpful) but the underlying message they convey is not trivial at all:  you are not culturally competent and you are not one of us.

Some might say that the problem is our attitude.  Shrug it off, let it go, focus on the intention and not on the personal feelings it provokes.  There is some merit to that.  A migrant cannot spend her life in a state of anger and resentment if she is to stay sane and find happiness in her host country.

Nonetheless, it's asking a lot to accept it for 10, 20, 30 years.  Attitudes are followed by actions with real consequences:  not being able to rent an apartment just anywhere you like or not getting a raise because, well, you should be grateful we hired you at all given that you are a foreign woman with a family.  To ask a person who experiences these things to just swallow it and move on is to ask us to be saints. (For the record, I didn't take it; I quit.)

With time and experience I've come to see such things in a broader perspective.  These interactions (the trivial and the not so trivial) are negotiations.  We, the long-term residents are asserting our right to belong to the society in which we live.  We use the language, know the culture, own property, marry nationals and raise our children in the host country.  These things, we say, show a desire to belong and give us a moral claim to acceptance in the societal waters in which we swim.

For many of us who come from countries of immigration that is the way it works back in the home country (or is supposed to work).  Integration is not necessarily easy but as Milton Gordon said of America a person is said to be integrated once he can "get along in the country."  He can speak the language and do the day to day things required of everyone. And it's OK if he wants to belong to the Sons of Norway club and speak Norwegian at home.  This is not to say that integration works perfectly in the US or any other country of immigration, but that is more or less how citizens from multicultural countries see the ideal process of integration.  If the migrant has the will and makes the effort, all will be well.

Not all countries see it that way.  True belonging in some places is based in part on what Clifford Geertz called "primordial ties."  It's not so much about how many years you've been in a country, but how many generations.  It's not the fact that you've mastered the language and cultures, it's the fact that you had to learn what a child born in this society learned far earlier than you and from her parents and local schools no less.  It's not that you look different (there are differences in phenotypes in all societies) but that you are different in a particular way (you are a European or African in Asia or an Asian in Africa or the Middle East) and it's easy for native citizens to point a finger and say, "Aha! Not from here."

This is frustrating for those who come from countries of immigration because the answer to "What does it take to belong here?" is a shrug and a "Well, nothing. And why is that a problem?  You chose to come here, and if you don't like it you can go home."  That's a pretty cruel response.  Leaving the country can mean leaving minor children behind or a spouse or a business.  These may not be "primordial ties" but they are important connections, maybe the most important connections in a person's life.   To ask someone to cast those off is, in my view, unrealistic and immoral.  That's not a fair choice that anyone should be coerced into making.

I have seen different reactions in France and Japan to this.  They range from:  a denial that there are any barriers to belonging at all; a weary acceptance that this is just the way things are; or assertions of belonging in the face of every perceived attempt small or large to deny it.

I don't have an answer for which strategy is the most successful and I certainly won't make any recommendations.  What I will say is that I dislike intensely efforts by migrants to put the blame for barriers to belonging back on their fellow migrants.  Well, if other migrants behaved better or learned the language more quickly or did this or that, then we would be accepted.  It's always those vague "other people," isn't it?  This is a very egotistical perspective.  It presumes that belonging is all about the individual who has control over what the native citizens think and believe.  In my wildest alcoholic-driven dreams I never had the illusion that I could control the feelings of 60+ million Frenchmen and women.

There is no easy answer here.  Only the day to day lives of migrants trying to carve a place for themselves in a new land as best they can.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Anglophones in Japan

The Jesuits have a saying, "Give me the child for the first seven years and I'll give you the man."

And what does one get after a middle-aged woman goes to graduate school?   An older, wiser, humbler women, I would say.

My coursework is finished and it is all in the hands of the examiners now.  There are papers scattered all over my dining room table here in Osaka.  The files on my computer are a mess.  Books are stacked in a huge pile next to my chair.  My head is aching and my hands hurt from all that typing.  It was a full-time job and now I feel as though I've been laid off.  A friend is taking me walking tomorrow.  It will be good to see sunlight.

The very best part of this experience was the fieldwork.  Since I was working toward a degree in International Migration and I just happened to be living part-time in Japan I chose to study native English speakers living in Japan.  I had no idea what I was going to find but 20+ years living outside of my home country gave me a good idea of what questions to ask.  I prepared a survey (Native English Speakers Living in Japan), published it, and over 600 people responded.  From there I was able to do 31 interviews with people from all over Japan.  I am so grateful to all the people who answered the survey and those who gave me an hour or so of their time to talk about their lives in Japan. It was an incredible experience.

The survey results have been sent to the participants who wanted them.  I will not publish them here but I will tell you a few things I learned from the data that I found interesting.

Native English speaker:  When I hear that term, it brings to mind a Canadian or an American or a British.  And, yes, those nationalities were in the top 10.  However, Singapore, France, Germany and Japan also made the top 10.  There were also respondents originally from Zimbabwe, India, and Mexico among many others.  Native English speakers in Japan come from all over the world.

Second citizenships:  The number one second citizenship was the UK, followed closely by the US and Australia.

Naturalized Japanese citizens:  The top 3 former citizenships of naturalized Japanese citizens were:  US, Canada, and the UK.  It's not just Americans renouncing.

Home ownership:  60% of those who answered this question did not own their own home in Japan and 40% do own a home here.  That is the exact opposite of the Japanese:  60% of them do own their own homes in Japan.

Mobility:  61% of those who answered the question about mobility said that yes, they came to Japan, left and then came back.  The top 10 countries they visited, lived in or went back to were:  US, UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, France, Germany, South Korea, and Thailand.  This a group that travelled and it showed that their move to Japan was not always an aller-simple.

Gender balance:  57.5% were men, 41.6% were women and .8% were transgender/transgay.

Older:  Over half the respondents were over 40 years of age.

Year of arrival:  66% of those who answered this question came to Japan between 1980 and 2000.

Married:  68% of those who answered the question about relationship status were married.  Another 9.2 were not married but were in a long-term relationship.  Less than 20% were single.  And this one really surprised me.

Missionaries:  Religious activities was 7th in the top 10 reasons for initially coming to Japan.   Yes, missionaries still come here.  It was a small percentage compared to the first reason (work) but it's still interesting to me.

There were 26 questions in the survey and these are just highlights from a few of them. Fascinating stuff.  I hope that this information will be of use to the participants - that it will give them a context for understanding their own experiences in Japan.

And it shows how even an old lady like me can learn a lot if she puts her mind to it and listens. Those Jesuits really need to update that saying....