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Metageographic communities: Structuring the non -place place

Katherine Nashleanas, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

Older ethnic American groups or flexible transnational communities may appear attenuated or more scattered than enclaves of newer, large-scale immigration groups. Looking more closely at ways the members of older ethnic American groups or transnational communities maintain connection with each other suggest their communities may have expanded across a more heterogeneous social or political space. Traditional models of communities defined as spatially clustered cohorts do not adequately reflect the way people interact with family, friends, and ethnic resources over distance. The Metageographic Community Model (MGC) reflect the intensity and frequency of interaction through flexible personal and transnational ties that create cumulative, multi-scaled, and spatially complex communities of individuals, enclaves, and cores that connect over time and space. The MGC model consists of four levels or scales and it is designed to reflect the flexible use of space and distance through communications networking. It redefines the breadth of community while retaining the essence and meaning of place. ^ I selected Norwegian-Americans and Lithuanian-Americans as baseline to represent two dispersed ethnic groups, and I have identified broader patterns of networking and their resultant political and economic influences when applying the MGC model. Results suggest that the existence of these ethnic communities may not be limited to evidence of endogamy, religious adherence, language retention, propinquitous clustering, or local landscapes. Instead ethnic communities can be measured cumulatively by the frequency and type of their interactions over distance and time as well as the extent of their domestic and transnational networking across many concurrent locations. ^ MGCs can be characterized by the frequency and type of interactions between members over distance across many locations at the same time. MGCs enable individuals and dispersed groups to manipulate space and effect social, political, and economic changes regionally, nationally, or internationally through cumulative interaction over distance, revealing highly powerful economic and political patterns not previously studied. The MGC model presented here can provide new tools for ethnic community research, and reveal subtle and deeply dynamic patterns of multi-scaled networking and uses of space. ^

Subject Area

Geography

Recommended Citation

Nashleanas, Katherine, "Metageographic communities: Structuring the non -place place" (2005). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3176797.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3176797

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