Georges Woke Up Laughing: Long Distance Nationalism and the Search for Home

N. Glick Schiller and G. Fouron

Durham: Duke University Press, 2001

Year of publication



Combining history, autobiography, and ethnography, Georges Woke Up Laughing provides a portrait of the Haitian experience of migration to the United States that illuminates the phenomenon of long-distance nationalism, the voicelessness of many citizens, and the impotency of government in an increasingly globalized world. By presenting lively ruminations on his life as a Haitian immigrant, Georges Fouron--along with Nina Glick Schiller, whose own family history stems from Poland and Russia--captures the daily struggles for survival that bind together those who emigrate and those who stay behind.According to a long-standing myth, once emigrants leave their homelands--particularly if they emigrate to the United States--they sever old nationalistic ties, assimilate, and happily live the American dream. In fact, many migrants remain intimately and integrally ties to their ancestral homeland, sometimes even after they become legal citizens of another country. In Georges Woke Up Laughing the authors reveal the realities and dilemmas that underlie the efforts of long distance nationalists to redefine citizenship, race, nationality, and political loyalty. Through discussions of the history and economics that links the United States with countries around the world, Glick Schiller and Fouron highlight the forces that shape emigrants' experiences of government and citizenship and create a transborder citizenry. Arguing that governments of many countries today have almost no power to implement policies that will assist their citizens, the authors provide insights into the ongoing sociological, anthropological, and political effects of globalization

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