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Postcolonial Migrants and Identity Politics

Postcolonial Migrants and Identity Politics: Europe, Russia, Japan and the United States in Comparison

Ulbe Bosma
Jan Lucassen
Gert Oostindie
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 278
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  • Book Info
    Postcolonial Migrants and Identity Politics
    Book Description:

    These transfers of sovereignty resulted in extensive, unforeseen movements of citizens and subjects to their former countries. The phenomenon of postcolonial migration affected not only European nations, but also the United States, Japan and post-Soviet Russia. The political and societal reactions to the unexpected and often unwelcome migrants was significant to postcolonial migrants' identity politics and how these influenced metropolitan debates about citizenship, national identity and colonial history. The contributors explore the historical background and contemporary significance of these migrations and discuss the ethnic and class composition and the patterns of integration of the migrant population.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-328-0
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures and Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Introduction. Postcolonial Migrations and Identity Politics: Towards a Comparative Perspective
    (pp. 1-22)
    Ulbe Bosma, Jan Lucassen and Gert Oostindie

    On the eve of the Second World War, the governments of Western Europe were as ill-prepared for the war to come as they were for its devastating consequences to their colonial empires. Even less did they anticipate the large-scale migrations that would accompany decolonization. This book addresses postcolonial migrations, not just to Europe but also beyond. The assumption of the contributions is that it is useful to differentiate the category of ‘postcolonial migrants’ from other types of migrants, because of their pre-migration legal status, their familiarity with metropolitan language and culture, and possibly also because of kinship relations with the...

  6. Chapter 1 Postcolonial Immigrants in France and their Descendants: The Meanings of France’s ‘Postcolonial Moment’
    (pp. 23-60)
    James Cohen

    In the ongoing controversy over the meaning of ‘the postcolonial’, different actors have different ways of defining for themselves what is ‘past’ about colonialism and what is still part of the present; what is new and what is not so new. Researchers may shed much light upon these questions but cannot claim neutrality or immunity from political controversy in which these same questions are posed in other, more immediate and sometimes plainly instrumental ways. The particular form of scientific legitimacy that academic researchers bring to the discussion cannot exist unto itself and should no doubt accept its inevitable interaction with...

  7. Chapter 2 Postcolonial Migrants in Britain: From Unwelcome Guests to Partial and Segmented Assimilation
    (pp. 61-94)
    Shinder S. Thandi

    Whilst there has been a long history – well over four hundred years – of migration of non-white people to Britain, the significant rise in non-white population has resulted mainly from two major phases of migration, the first one beginning with the end of the Second World War and start of the de-colonization process in the British Empire and the second one beginning in the 1990s and associated with political upheavals in parts of Africa and West Asia (notably through an increase in asylum seekers from Bosnia, Afghanistan and Somalia) and the enlargement of the European Union resulting in the influx of...

  8. Chapter 3 Postcolonial Migrants in the Netherlands: Identity Politics versus the Fragmentation of Community
    (pp. 95-126)
    Gert Oostindie

    Over one million of the 16.4 million citizens of the Netherlands are first-or second-generation migrants from the former colonies. This paper discusses the post-war history of these postcolonial migrants. At some points comparisons are made with other groups of so-called ‘non-Western’ migrants. It is appropriate to emphasize beforehand that this analytical division between postcolonial and other non-Western migrant communities is important for the Netherlands, as it is also for Portugal and perhaps Spain, but it seems largely irrelevant to the United Kingdom and France. The arrival of non-Western migrants in most other Western European states had little to do with...

  9. Chapter 4 Postcolonial Portugal: Between Scylla and Charybdis
    (pp. 127-154)
    M. Margarida Marques

    By 1981, six years after its former African colonies had gained their independence, Portugal had become home to half a million people ‘returning’ from Africa. This is but a pale reflection of six centuries of colonial expansion, though. As a small country with less than a million inhabitants in the early fifteenth century, Portugal succeeded in creating an effective trading network that spanned the globe, and involved people from all over the world. In colonial times, foreign visitors were stunned by the exceptionally large presence in the city of Lisbon of people of many different origins.¹ Miscegenation was one of...

  10. Chapter 5 Return of the Natives? Children of Empire in Post-imperial Japan
    (pp. 155-180)
    Nicole Leah Cohen

    The journey to Japan of young Japanese born and raised in colonial Korea is one snapshot of the experiences of over 6.5 million Japanese nationals repatriated from all parts of the empire after the Second World War. As children who were ethnically Japanese but not natives of Japan proper, they participated, along with their families, in one of the largest collective migrations in history. The repatriation of over one million former colonial subjects living and working in Mainland Japan – mostly Taiwanese, Korean and Chinese – back to their respective countries after the dissolution of the empire is the flipside to this...

  11. Chapter 6 Postcolonial Immigration and Identity Formation in Europe since 1945: The Russian Variant
    (pp. 181-192)
    Allison Blakely

    Comparison of postcolonial immigration in Russia to that in the rest of Europe requires first a historical overview of the formation of the modern Russian state, given the distinctive nature of Russia’s colonialism. The tsarist Russian empire and its nearly identical replication by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in the twentieth century resulted from contiguous expansion, in contrast to that of the major Western global maritime powers. Even Russia’s overseas expansion into North America was contiguous. Defining the identities and status of those emigrating from their traditional homelands into the diminished Russian republic that remained after the collapse of...

  12. Chapter 7 The Puerto Rican Diaspora to the United States: A Postcolonial Migration?
    (pp. 193-226)
    Jorge Duany

    In 1953, the General Assembly of the United Nations removed Puerto Rico from its list of ‘non-self-governing territories’. Officially, the island was no longer considered a ‘colony’ of the United States. Since then, the U.S. government has repeatedly claimed that the Puerto Rican people have exercised their right to self-determination, that they adopted their own constitution, that they have attained self-government and that they are freely associated with the United States.¹ The leaders of Puerto Rico’s Popular Democratic Party (PDP), who favour the current political status, insist that in 1952 the island entered into a ‘bilateral compact’ with the United...

  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 227-250)
  14. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 251-254)
  15. Index
    (pp. 255-260)