Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version

February 2001


Published in Negotiating Transnationalism: Selected Papers on Refugees and Immigrants, Volume IX, 2001. Edited by MaryCarol Hopkins and Nancy Wellmeier. Arlington, VA: American Anthropological Association, 2001. Pages 32–71. A publication of the American Anthropological Association Committee on Refugees and Immigrants/General Anthropology Division. Copyright © 2001 American Anthropological Association. Used by permission.


In response to inadequate local resources (as subjectively defined) in both sending and receiving communities and in response to related local racial/ethnic discriminations, transnational families engage in transnational economic, cultural, and psychological risk-minimization strategies— the substance of a “transnationalism from below” (Smith and Guarnizo 1998)—that are discordant with the enculturative presumptions of schooling. A special type of transnational migrant described here—the sojourner student—is thus vulnerable not only to (a) the original migration-inducing conditions and (b) the limitations of opportunity in the receiving community, but also (c) to the contradictions between their response strategy and the standard suppositions of schooling. This vulnerability, however, could be ameliorated rather than exacerbated by schooling, if educators were sufficiently responsive to sojourner students’ circumstances.