Reply to reviewers of The State and the Grassroots

Alejandro Portes, Patricia Fernández-Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While agreeing with most points made by our commentators, we focus our reply on three key points of debate on the literature on immigrant transnationalism: first, the relative durability of these initiatives; second, their significance for sending countries and regions; and third their bearing on the relationship between immigration and development. Theorizing on this topic has ranged from grand statements about the importance of transnationalism to attempts to dismiss the concept altogether. The studies of eighteen immigrant nationalities included in our book demonstrate that neither position is accurate. While many transnational activities are rather modest in scope, others can attain systemic importance for national development. Their potential for doing so has a direct bearing on theories and models for national development. Sending nations and regions can no longer dismiss their expatriate communities as irrelevant to their developmental efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)480-483
Number of pages4
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 19 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Transnationalism
  • development
  • immigrant communities
  • second generation


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