Racializing Culture and Class in a Transnational Field
This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book's main themes. This book examines the racialized belongings of Okinawan-Bolivians in a transnational context. It considers multiple contradictions that Okinawan-Bolivians (Okinawan settlers, or Issei, and their offspring in Colonia Okinawa, and Okinawan-Bolivian dekasegi migrants in urban Japan) faced in Bolivia and Japan. First, how did Okinawan-Bolivians experience and make sense of paradoxical socioeconomic class positions they occupied in a transnational social field? Second, how did educational institutions, such as community schools in Colonia Okinawa, shape Nisei and Sansei (third-generation) Okinawan-Bolivian youth's identities and behaviors? Finally, how did Okinawan-Bolivians interpret and negotiate their historical and cultural distinctiveness as Okinawans, whose past as the colonized subjects under imperial Japan still stirred ambivalent feelings toward Japan among Okinawans in Okinawa Prefecture and the Okinawan diaspora abroad? This study, then, is an attempt to understand the contradictory processes of class and cultural identity formation of transmigrants; an ethnography of postcolonial subjects in diaspora; and an effort to theorize race, class, and culture in a transnational context.
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