Women in the Transnational World 1
What do I understand today by a “transnational world”? That it is impossible for the new and developing states, the newly decolonizing or the old decolonizing nations, to escape the orthodox constraints of a “neo-liberal” world economic system which, in the name of “Development, ” and now “sustainable development, ” removes all barriers between itself and fragile national economies, so that any possibility of building for social redistribution is severely damaged. In this new transnationality, what is usually meant by “the new diaspora, ” the new scattering of the seeds of “developing” nations, so that they can take root on developed ground? Eurocentric migration, labor export both male and female, border crossings, the seeking of political asylum, and the haunting in-place uprooting of “comfort women” in Asia and Africa. What were the old diasporas, before the world was thoroughly consolidated as transnational? They were the results of religious oppression and war, of slavery and indenturing, trade and conquest, and intra-European economic migration, which, since the nineteenth century, took the form of migration and immigration into the United States.
These are complex phenomena, each with a singular history of its own. And women's relationship to each of these phenomena is oblique, ex-orbitant to the general story. It is true that in transnationality their lines seem to cross mostly, though not always, in First World spaces, where the lines seem to end; labor migrancy is increasingly an object of investigation and oral history. Yet even this tremendous complexity cannot accommodate some issues involving “women in the transnational world.” I list them here: (1) homeworking, (2) population control, (3) groups that cannot become diasporic, and (4) indigenous women outside of the Americas.
Homeworking involves women who, within all the divisions of the world and in modes of production extending from the precapitalist to the post-Fordist, embrac-ing all class processes, do piecework at home with no control over wages; and thus