Cornish identities and migration: a multi-scalar approach
University of Exeter
In this article we argue that theories of transnationalism have value in exploring the historical context of migration and that historical contexts help to shape such theoretical conceptualizations. Historians of migration have now begun to engage more directly with the literature of transnationalism, focusing on the networks that linked settler and home communities. Here we add to this by examining a nineteenth-century migrant community from a British region through the lens of transnationalism, applying the concept to the case of the Cornish, whose economic specialization produced culturally distinct Cornish communities on the mining frontiers of North America, Australia and South Africa. In doing so, we bring together the issues of scale and time. We review the multiple levels of the Cornish transnational space of the late nineteenth century, which exhibited aspects of both core transnationalism and translocalism. This waned, but in the later twentieth century, a renewed interest in a transnational Cornish identity re-emerged, articulating with changing identity claims in Cornwall itself. To capture better the experience of the Cornish over these two very different phases of transnationalism we identify another subset of transnationalism - that of transregionalism.
The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com. 24 month embargo by the publisher. Article will be released July 2009.