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Contemporary Migrations in the Humanistic Coefficient Perspective

Florian Znaniecki’s Thought in Today’s Social Science Research

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Edited By Jacek Kubera and Łukasz Skoczylas

This book presents contributions from migration sociologists inspired by Florian Znaniecki’s theory and the results of his studies to conduct their own research in countries like Austria, China, Greece and Poland. The authors evaluate today’s migration phenomena with reference to a coherent theoretical system. The book can be used as a manual presenting the tools for examining the migration experience from many angles: a sense of national identity (ethnic and civic), family ties, the importance of the social environment in the process of an individual’s integration with the society or an evolution of entire social systems within which the migrants operate.

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Transnationalism in the Lives of Migrants: The Relevance of Thomas and Znaniecki’s Work to Understand Migration (Ernesto Castañeda)

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Ernesto Castañeda

Center on Health, Risk and Society Center for Latin American and Latino Studies American University Washington

Transnationalism in the Lives of Migrants: The Relevance of Thomas and Znaniecki’s Work in Understanding Migration

Abstract: Here I describe processes and mechanisms presented by Thomas and Znaniecki in 1918 that are still valid a hundred years later. I discuss some characteristics of their contribution to our understanding of the migration process, including the continued importance of connecting migrant-sending and migrant-receiving communities in empirical studies. I then briefly apply and discuss the relevance of this theoretical and methodological framework to contemporary migration flows between Mexico and the United States as well as Algeria and France.

Keywords: transnational migration; migrant communities; subjective experience; migration theory; migration processes

Many migratory waves have repopulated North America. Thus, it is not accidental that one of the very first works of sociology in America – and a foundational piece of the influential Chicago School of Sociology – was Thomas and Znaniecki’s book The Polish Peasant in Europe and America (1918). Indeed, five volumes were published between 1918–1920 totalling over two thousand pages of social theory, data analysis, and large selections of primary documents that speak for themselves. In the US, an abridged version edited by historian Eli Zaretsky is in print and widely used in social science and humanities courses (Thomas and Znaniecki 1996).

An American sociologist William Isaac Thomas (1863–1947)...

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