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University of Illinois Press
Citizenship and Those Who Leave: The Politics of Emigration and Expatriation

Citizenship and Those Who Leave: The Politics of Emigration and Expatriation

by Nancy L. Green, Francois Weil


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Citizenship and Those Who Leave: The Politics of Emigration and Expatriation

Exit, like entry, has helped define citizenship over the last two centuries, yet little attention has been given to the politics of emigration. How have countries impeded or facilitated people leaving? How have they perceived and regulated those who leave? What relations do they seek to maintain with their citizens abroad and why? The work of major immigration scholars, Citizenship and Those Who Leave reverses the immigration perspective to examine how nations including the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, China, India, Israel, Canada, and Mexico define themselves not just through entry but through exit as well.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780252074295
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Publication date: 04/20/2007
Series: Studies of World Migrations
Edition description: 1ST
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Nancy L. Green and François Weil are professors of history at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. Green is the author of Repenser les migrations and Ready-to-Wear and Ready-to-Work: A Century of Industry and Immigrants in Paris and New York. Weil has recently published A History of New York.

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Copyright © 2007 Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-252-07429-5


Exit, like entry, has helped define citizenship over the last two centuries, yet little attention has been given to what could be called the politics of emigration. Most of the migration literature of the last few decades, as seen from the major countries of arrival, has been resolutely a literature of immigration. As immigration studies took off during the ethnic renaissance of the 1970s and 1980s, and as immigration remains front-page news, it is not surprising that most migration history is written from where we are: the countries of immigration, past and present.

Indeed, immigration has come to be seen as a litmus test for how nations define themselves. The expanding field of citizenship studies has raised fundamental questions about hospitality and sovereignty from the perspective of the state, focusing on admissions policies, the integration of foreigners, the acquisition (or not) of rights and eventually political citizenship, and the definition of foreignness as perceived by host countries. All of these issues have to do with perceptions of the Other, and with defining the nation itself.

We propose here to reverse this perspective in order to examine how nations also have defined themselves by their attitudes toward those who leave. Surprisingly little attention has been given to the history of policies and attitudes of the state with regard to departure. How have countries impeded or facilitated leave-taking? How have they perceived and regulated those who leave? What relations do they seek to maintain with their citizens abroad, and why? Citizenship is conceptualized not just through entry but through exit as well.

The emigration perspective is important for two reasons. First, emigration is intimately related to immigration. This has been recognized for the migrants, with repeated calls for better integrating the stories of their past with stories of their present. However, the recent debates and historical scholarship on citizenship have been framed almost entirely within the perspective of the countries of immigration. We can look to the history of migrations past-even before the "invention of the passport"-in order to re-examine the ways in which countries have perceived those who left.

A study of the politics of emigration could range in time from colonial policies of the nineteenth century to taxation regimes for business expatriates in the late twentieth century. Emigration can be a strategy encouraged in the name of imperialism, or it can be perceived as a loss of labor or a "brain drain." At one extreme, countries have expelled their citizens for political or religious reasons; local potentates have sold their subjects into slavery. At the other, totalitarian regimes have prohibited their citizens from leaving, creating everything from administrative barriers to physical walls.

We concentrate here between the extremes, on free movement during the mass migrations of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We ask how voluntary leave-taking-motivated, as we know, by a combination of economic, demographic, political, religious, and individual factors, and often with the intent (if not the reality) of return-was conceptualized by the sending countries. The material reasons for departure have been documented, but the political perceptions of departure have never been studied in a comparative perspective. In what ways did the state accompany, encourage, or impede exit?

With this volume, we argue for the importance of a multifaceted study of emigration, from the laws governing departure and the formal ties that bind citizens (from military service to consular services), to research into society's attitudes about departure and about those left behind. Emigration may be encouraged or discouraged by the sending societies. It may be seen as a form of diffuse ambassadorship-the spread of civilization or the avant-garde of investment abroad-or it may be lamented as a drain of resources or feared as treason.


The right to exit is not a historical given, and, over the last two centuries, the limitations on internal and external mobility have been many. Until the end of serfdom, after all, the first impediment to movement was internal: people were bound to the soil; voluntary leaving was proscribed. Interregional movement or internal colonization was often regulated, if not organized, by the state. In chapter 1, John Torpey dates the modern notion of free departure to the French Revolution, arguing that the freedom to leave has corresponded to a free labor market. He contrasts these norms, which spread throughout Western Europe, with the Soviet Union and with internal and external Chinese restrictions on movement, while pointing out how the United States combined freedom of movement for European immigrants with restrictions on movement for blacks.

This modern freedom of departure was facilitated by an "exit revolution" (as Aristide Zolberg calls it in chapter 2), which overturned many mercantilist assumptions. Agricultural, economic, and demographic change combined with new ideas about leave-taking. Contrasting British and French attitudes and comparing the German, Belgian, and other European cases, Zolberg shows how the political economy of Europe led not just to the "push" of emigration but how state policies contributed by reducing restraints on movement. Like Marx or Polanyi (The Great Transformation), Zolberg sees the nineteenth century as a veritable revolution of globalization, in which the allowing of emigration was one of its new systemic attributes.


The nineteenth century was not simply a new period of increased movement; perhaps even more important, it was a time when states started to problematize this movement, shifting from a presumption of stability to one integrating mobility. Emigration became a particularly sensitive issue for nations in the process of inventing themselves while simultaneously large numbers of their subjects/citizens were leaving. In chapter 3, Donna Gabaccia, Dirk Hoerder, and Adam Walaszek look at the language of emigration in Italy, Germany, and Poland, examining how emigration was variously regarded with suspicion, controlled, or even encouraged. These countries (and particularly their nationalist elites) were concerned with "consolidating the homeland" by protecting their citizens abroad and promoting policies they hoped would strengthen the links between those who had moved away and their country of origin. Defining emigrants was thus part of a larger process of defining citizens (and their obligations), national character, as well as the notion of a cultural nation.

Caroline Douki argues in chapter 4 that Italian emigrants even helped the modern Italian État gestionnaire (the managerial, or administrative, state) come into being. Even as a nationalist discourse was reflecting alarm at the great increase in the numbers of emigrants circa 1900, those distant citizens became one of the first groups to benefit from state aid. As the state attempted to count those abroad and became concerned about their welfare, the perception of the Italians overseas shifted from marginal to central in debates about social policy. Ultimately, the construction of the modern Italian state came about through the debates about social legislation undertaken with the emigrants in mind.

Yet even an older country such as France was concerned about the meaning of emigration for the state. Contrary to the usual image of France as a country of little emigration (and the concomitant paucity of historiography on the subject), François Weil shows (in chapter 5) how different levels of the French state were concerned with the issue and how public debate as well as administrative reforms reflected and affected emigration from the 1820s through the Second Empire. State ministers and statisticians as well as local prefects and mayors all took part in creating an increasingly specialized administrative apparatus concerned with French citizens and other nationals who left via French ports.


Emigration is a highly political issue, but it is also closely connected to economic concerns and discussions over things financial and fiscal. While Britain's early nineteenth-century attitude toward emigration as a solution to the Irish problem has often been cited, David Feldman and M. Page Baldwin argue in chapter 6 that in spite of Robert Wilmot Horton's 1826 report in favor of "shoveling out paupers"-especially to the empire-few measures were actually undertaken. Fiscally conscious opponents to such a policy objected that state-sponsored emigration was simply too expensive, while radicals argued that it was a conspiracy against the poor. Malthusian pessimism thus confronted the imperatives of good fiscal virtue. In the end, Feldman and Baldwin argue, few people actually left as a result of direct subsidies; the vast majority departed under their own steam, and it was not until after World War I that the British state actually actively supported emigration, in spite of Treasury objections, to the empire.

The economics of emigration frame the question in more ways than one. In examining the Dutch case (chapter 7), Corrie van Eijl and Leo Lucassen offer the example of emigration to a nearby destination that was directly linked to domestic issues concerning welfare. The Dutch saw emigration as a way to export unemployment to Germany, yet both countries had to negotiate the issue of financial responsibility when a migrant applied for poor relief. The debate over emigration reflected fears about the mobile unemployed, yet at the same time the Dutch government wanted to maintain good ties with Germany and with Dutch citizens there. Ultimately, the result was strengthened poor-relief measures on behalf of citizens living abroad.

Similarly, in tracing how attitudes toward emigration changed in the German lands, Andreas Fahrmeir emphasizes (in chapter 8) how there have historically been competing concerns over emigration. Like other countries, the German states shifted over time from a mercantilist attitude against emigration toward a more favorable policy toward leave-taking in the hope of resolving pauperism. Emigrants who left with no intention of returning lost their citizenship, insuring that they did not later return penniless, seeking aid. But ethnic ties with Germans abroad (particularly in eastern Europe) became paramount to National Socialist ideology, while today the Federal Republic has returned to a more balanced consideration of ethnic and economic issues concerning emigration/immigration.


As three chapters (9, 10, and 11) dealing with North America show, the links between immigration and emigration occur on several levels, from international relations to border-crossings to asymmetrical power relations. Dorothee Schneider (chapter 9) has studied European emigration as viewed by U.S. policymakers. In an effort to limit the volume and improve the quality of immigration, the American government sought to intervene at the source by affecting emigration policies in the countries of origin. The U.S. government sent investigators to Europe to study administrative and legal procedures there and tried (not very successfully) to get the sending states to revise their free-to-leave policies. Not surprisingly, the more authoritarian governments of this period met with the greatest approval by U.S. immigration officials. In the end, however, it was the business interests-the shipping companies-that bore the brunt of responsibility as regulatory agents at the ports of embarkation.

The connections between immigration and emigration concerns are even more acute in the Canadian example. Like François Weil, Bruno Ramirez (chapter 10) brings to light a heretofore under-studied migration, one that again involves emigration to a nearby location: from Canada to the United States. Canada (like France and the United States) has primarily been a country of immigration, but it has also been one of emigration, serving in large part as a sieve, or what could be called a lieu de passage. Labor market shifts have caused immigrants to come to Canada and then to move on, looking for better opportunities south of the border. Consequently, the Canadian government has worried about who enters and who exits, at times to the extent of seeing emigration as desertion and sending repatriation agents to the United States to try to convince citizens to return home.

In the case of Mexico (chapter 11), the government also tried initially to discourage its citizens from moving northward. But by the mid-twentieth century, the number of Mexican citizens in the United States led Mexico to enter into negotiations in order to improve conditions for its citizens abroad, under what became known as the braceros programs. However, from 1965 to 1990, as Jorge Durand shows, the Mexican government once again took a passive role in an asymmetrical power relation, while the United States initiated regimes of regulation and surveillance. Since 1990, however, and particularly since the election of Vicente Fox in 2000, the Mexican government has become more active in setting up programs for its citizens abroad and in attempting to negotiate better conditions and rights for them.


While we can chart the political and economic emigration debates-once we look for them-we have to admit that the actual definition of the emigrant is often itself in flux. How do we tell an emigrant, in the absence of official papers, from an ordinary traveler? The size of his or her baggage? Is departure permanent or temporary? Intent is a slippery concept, since projects of return may take years to finalize. Indeed, nineteenth-century emigrants have been called by different names, sometimes corresponding to different destinations. Van Eijl and Lucassen have suggested the following typology: long-distance, (largely) transatlantic emigrants; colonial emigrants; and emigrants who went to neighboring countries (intra-European). In Britain, one imperial enthusiast argued that the term "emigration" should refer only to going to a foreign country, not to a colony; migration within the empire should simply be termed "overseas settlement" (Feldman and Baldwin). Italians, Germans, and Poles all used different words to differentiate between the more worrisome overseas and "permanent" emigrants, and the intra-European or intraregional, supposedly temporary, ones (Gabaccia, Hoerder, and Walaszek).

Yet we can look at three cases of emigration in the twentieth century in which specific terms have been used to describe different relationships to the country of origin: the "Overseas Chinese," the "brain drain" from India, and the yordim of Israel. In each case, the country of origin has constructed a complex relationship of dismissal/need with its citizens abroad.

The genesis of the category of Overseas Chinese (chapter 12) can be traced to the nineteenth century, when emigration carried a doubly negative connotation: rebellion against the emperor and desertion of one's ancestors. By the late nineteenth century, however, the state began to be aware of its emigrants, largely due to alarming reports on the conditions of coolies. A nationality law of 1909 was elaborated in the context of increasingly urged protection, especially for Chinese merchants abroad. Sun Yat-Sen saw "Overseas Chinese" as integral parts of the nation, to be controlled on its behalf, a position that was continued by the Communist regime. Although emigration was forbidden during the Cultural Revolution, and internal and external departures were still controlled thereafter, Carine Pina-Guerassimoff and Eric Guerassimoff show how, since 1978, the Overseas Chinese have been reconceptualized as a specific economic and cultural category, important to the homeland.

The Indian case (chapter 13) provides an example of an elite emigration, one which continues to be in the news as a function of Western technological needs. However, in retracing the origins of the Indian "brain drain" (the terms dates back to the emigration of Indian doctors to the United Kingdom in the late 1950s and early 1960s to fill the vacuum created by the emigration of British doctors to the United States), Binod Khadria emphasizes the importance of understanding the supply-side production of emigrants. India's expansive education policy of the last half century, with its stated goal of universal elementary schooling, nonetheless ultimately created a top-heavy system leading to an overabundance of unemployed college graduates. As Khadria concludes, what had been perceived as a wealth drain to Britain when India was a colony has been paralleled by a brain drain to the United States since Indian independence.


Excerpted from CITIZENSHIP AND THOSE WHO LEAVE by NANCY L. GREEN FRANÇOIS WEIL Copyright © 2007 by Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. Excerpted by permission.
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Table of Contents

Preface   Donna R. Gabaccia   Leslie Page Moch     ix
Acknowledgments     xi
Introduction   Nancy L. Green   Francois Weil     1
Freedom of Movement
Leaving: A Comparative View   John Torpey     13
The Exit Revolution   Aristide R. Zolberg     33
Nation Building and the Administrative Framework
Emigration and Nation Building during the Mass Migrations from Europe   Donna R. Gabaccia   Dirk Hoerder   Adam Walaszek     63
The Liberal Italian State and Mass Emigration, 1860-1914   Caroline Douki     91
The French State and Transoceanic Emigration   Francois Weil     114
The Costs of Emigration
Emigration and the British State, ca. 1815-1925   David Feldman   M. Page Baldwin     135
Holland beyond the Borders: Emigration and the Dutch State, 1850-1940   Corrie van Eijl   Leo Lucassen     156
From Economics to Ethnicity and Back: Reflections on Emigration Control in Germany, 1800-2000   Andreas Fahrmeir     176
Borders and Links
The United States Government and the Investigation of European Emigration in the Open Door Era   Dorothee Schneider     195
Migration and National Consciousness: The CanadianCase   Bruno Ramirez     211
Migration Policy and the Asymmetry of Power: The Mexican Case, 1900-2000   Jorge Durand     224
Naming Emigrants
The "Overseas Chinese": The State and Emigration from the 1890s through the 1990s   Carine Pina-Guerassimoff   Eric Guerassimoff     245
Tracing the Genesis of Brain Drain in India through State Policy and Civil Society   Binod Khadria     265
Israeli Emigration Policy   Steven J. Gold     283
Contributors     305
Index     311

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