Chapter 22: Global Entrepreneurship and Transnationalism
1 Ivan H. Light To an earlier generation of scholars, diasporas meant ethno-national communities scattered around the globe that nonetheless remained in continuous, long-term contact with one another as well as with their real or putative homeland (Armstrong, 1976; Cohen, 1997: 185). Their real or putative homeland constituted the hub of ethnic diasporas. The colonies scattered abroad represented the spokes. Thanks to their hub and spoke structure, diasporas linked distant continents such that ethnic minorities resident in any one place had strong social ties and cultural ties with co-ethnics in many others. Ethnic diasporas were commercially important, but they were not numerous. Diasporas were uncommon because most immigrants just assimilated into host societies within three generations. As a result, unless renewed by new migration, the spokes ceased to communicate with one another and with the hub. Before globalization, which began in about 1965 (Dicken, 1992), and arguably changed this arrangement, the world’s international immigrants routinely assimilated to host societies in historically short order (Caliner, 2000). At a minimum, assimilation meant acquiring the language of one’s new homeland and forgetting the language of one’s ethnic origin. For immigrants, the road to assimilation went from monolingualism in a foreign language to bilingualism and back to monolingualism in a new language. In the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand assimilation meant that, whatever one’s ethnic origins, one’s grandchildren would become English monolinguals. Therefore, thanks to assimilation, international immigration routinely left no permanent ethnic colonies in place abroad as a permanent historical legacy. Diasporas...
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