Re/Imagined Community: Neoliberalism, Human Rights, and Officials’ Accounts of the Salvadoran Transnation
PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review
Under neoliberal globalization, configurations of persons, legal regimes, and nation‐states transform. Some states explicitly employ a strategy of transnational nation‐building; for example, El Salvador is now an exemplary transnational state. With at least a quarter of the population living outside the national territory, the figure of the emigrant is significant in nationalist imaginaries. This article explores the process of imagining the transnation within one Salvadoran state institution—the Viceministry for Salvadorans Abroad—by examining upper‐and mid‐level state officials’ accounts of the relationship between emigrants and the nation‐state. State officials navigate and deploy global discourses around neoliberal development, on the one hand, and human rights for migrants, on the other hand, as they narrate their way to nationalist visions within the constraints of global political economy. The article looks comparatively at the ways officials frame the institution's central vision and role: under the right‐wing Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (ARENA) party administration in the late 2000s, and a few years later under the leadership of the leftist Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN) party in the early 2010s. Under both administrations, viceministry officials navigated a fraught geopolitical field and worked diligently to engage the symbolic and material potentiality of cross‐border migrant citizens.
American Anthropological Association
Hallett, Miranda Cady, "Re/Imagined Community: Neoliberalism, Human Rights, and Officials’ Accounts of the Salvadoran Transnation" (2019). Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work Faculty Publications. 87.