(Re)producing Salvadoran Transnational Geographies

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Abstract

As contemporary international migrants forge new webs of connection and social fields between distant places, transnational scholarship seeks to understand and theorize these emerging spaces. Our account of the Salvadoran transnational social field centered in northern New Jersey contributes to the development of transnational theory by considering how a particular legal provision—temporary protective status (TPS)—permeates daily life. We argue that material and nonmaterial aspects of daily life become associated with an experience of space-time relations to which we refer as permanent temporariness. Permanent temporariness limits the geographic, economic, social, and political ambitions of Salvadorans, but is increasingly resisted through acts of strategic visibility. Our article reflects on the implications of permanent temporariness for the production of scale in the particular transnational field we study, and on links to broader discussions about transnationalism, the international political economy of migration, and capitalist restructuring. To represent the experiences of Salvadorans, we use a transnational mixed-methods approach to pool quantitative and qualitative data that were collected serially at multiple sites.

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