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Mobile Livelihoods: The Sociocultural Practices of Circular Migrants between Puerto Rico and the United States

Jorge Duany
The International Migration Review
Vol. 36, No. 2 (Summer, 2002), pp. 355-388
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4149457
Page Count: 34
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Mobile Livelihoods: The Sociocultural Practices of Circular Migrants between Puerto Rico and the United States
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Abstract

This article focuses on the bilateral flow of people between Puerto Rico and the United States - what has come to be known as circular, commuter, or revolving-door migration. It documents the migrants' livelihood practices based on a recent field study of population flows between Puerto Rico and the mainland. Specifically, the basic characteristics of multiple movers, one-time movers and nonmovers residing in Puerto Rico are compared. More broadly, the article assesses the implications of circular migration for Puerto Rican communities on and off the island. The author's basic argument is that the constant displacement of people - both to and from the island - blurs the territorial, linguistic, and juridical boundaries of the Puerto Rican nation. As people expand their means of subsistence across space, they develop multiple attachments to various localities. In the Puerto Rican situation, such mobile livelihoods are easier to establish than in other places because of the free movement of labor and capital between the island and the mainland. The author hypothesizes that circulation does not entail major losses in human capital for most Puerto Ricans, but rather often constitutes an occupational, educational, and linguistic asset.

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