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Beyond Dutch Borders

Beyond Dutch Borders: Transnational Politics among Colonial Migrants, Guest Workers and the Second Generation

Liza Mügge
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 264
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  • Book Info
    Beyond Dutch Borders
    Book Description:

    Despite widespread scepticism in receiving societies, migrants often remain loyal to their former homeland and stay active in the politics there. Beyond Dutch Borders is about such ties. Combining extensive fieldwork with quantitative data, this book compares how transnational political involvement among guest workers from Turkey and post-colonial migrants from Surinam living in the Netherlands has evolved over the past half-century. It looks at Turks seeking to improve their position in Dutch society, Kurds lobbying for equal rights in Turkey and Surinamese hoping to boost development in their country of origin. Sending-state governments, political parties and organisations are shown to be key shapers of transnational migrant politics both in opposition to, and support of, homeland ruling elites. Meanwhile, it becomes clear that migrants' border-crossing loyalties and engagement have not dented their political integration in the receiving societies - quite the opposite. Certainly in this respect, the sceptics have been wrong. This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-1282-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-6)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 7-8)
  3. Tables
    (pp. 9-10)
  4. Figures
    (pp. 11-12)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. 13-18)
  6. Acknowledgements
    (pp. 19-20)
  7. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 21-46)

    Migrant politics is as old as migration itself. Leaders in receiving societies (and later, nation-states) have generally been sceptical – if not hostile – towards political loyalties and involvements that defied their territorial borders. At present, we witness such host country anxiety over migrants’ ‘integration’ and activities that may contravene its political and security interests.

    Regardless of whether such concerns are justified – they are often based on unsystematic and patchy evidence, to say the least – there has been growing scholarly interest in the political involvement of migrants. Again, much of this work has focused on migrants’ political ‘integration’...

  8. 2 Individual transnationalists
    (pp. 47-82)

    This chapter provides an overview of the transnational ties and activities of individual Surinamese, Turkish and Kurdish migrants in the Netherlands. Most statistical information on migrants in the Netherlands is collected to measure their social, cultural and economic position in the country and, in one way or another, to examine their integration.¹ Issues related to the country of origin are thus poorly reflected in official statistics and our knowledge of the transnational orientations of individual migrants remains limited.² To address this gap, I designed and supervised a survey carried out by assistants in 2004, the results of which are presented...

  9. 3 Migrant organisations and transnational politics
    (pp. 83-124)

    Previous studies on migrant organisations in the Netherlands have focused on whether they help migrants integrate into Dutch society. No systematic research, however, has been done on their ties to homeland organisations or states. This chapter aims to fill this gap. It analyses the transnational ties of Surinamese and Turkish (including Kurdish) organisational networks in the Netherlands over the periods 2001-2005 and 1999-2005, respectively, and the activities channelled through these ties. It further examines how migrant civil societies and political opportunity structures in both home and host countries – as well as diplomatic relations between them – influenced these ties....

  10. 4 Surinam: Student activism to transnational party politics
    (pp. 125-148)

    How has the colonial history and its legacy affected Surinamese transnational party politics? It has been apparent that actors in Surinam are often ambivalent towards influence from the former colonial metropole. I have also showed that Surinamese migrant civil society’s potential for transnational mobilisation is limited by its fragmentation, with most organisations not existing for long. This is largely due to actors in Surinam not reaching out to migrant organisations, resulting in ties that are uninstitutionalised from above. This chapter examines how ethnic diversity, short-term organisational structures and homeland-based actors’ reluctance to invest in transnational ties have affected transnational party...

  11. 5 Turkey: Labour migration to transnational party politics
    (pp. 149-180)

    The associational life of first-generation Turkish migrants in the Netherlands represented the whole spectrum of homeland political parties and movements. Several decades later, most of these organisations still exist. Though ties with homeland political parties have remained remarkably stable, they are now used for very different ends. This chapter addresses this tension between organisational form and political content in the historical development of transnational party politics. In general terms, it asks how involvement in transnational party politics among Turkish migrants emerged, developed and waned over time. Central to the story are the motivations and strategies of political parties in Turkey...

  12. 6 Kurdish diaspora politics
    (pp. 181-192)

    The previous chapter showed how specific political opportunities in Turkey affected the emergence of migrant organisations in the Netherlands. It also illustrated how third-country transnational ties and the use of supranational opportunity structures were especially relevant for groups excluded from political participation in their homelands. This chapter continues this line of analysis for (self-identifying) Kurds living in the Netherlands. It focuses on the impact of the political climate and opportunity structure in Turkey, new Dutch and European opportunity structures and third-country and ethnic transnational ties on Kurdish diaspora politics.

    I begin with the growth of Kurdish nationalism in Turkey in...

  13. 7 Conclusion: Looking both ways
    (pp. 193-202)

    This study has investigated the transnational political participation of Surinamese, Turkish and Kurdish migrants and their descendents in the Netherlands over a period of roughly 50 years. Drawing on a variety of methods and both primary qualitative and secondary quantitative data, it has analysed transnational politics in the homelands as well as in the country of residence. By focusing on transnational activities and especially ties, it has sought to provide an in-depth view of the mechanisms and larger structures of migrant transnational politics on the individual, collective and state levels.

    Three lines of inquiry guided the study. First, what explains...

  14. Appendix A: Methodology
    (pp. 203-210)
  15. Appendix B: Selection of the most important Surinamese political parties mentioned in chapter 4
    (pp. 211-212)
  16. Appendix C: Family trees of Turkish and Kurdish political parties, 1920s-2005
    (pp. 213-214)
  17. Notes
    (pp. 215-224)
  18. References
    (pp. 225-246)
  19. Index
    (pp. 247-256)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 257-263)