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Transnational networks and transcultural belonging: a study of the Spanish second generation in Switzerland


Global Networks

Published online on


Migration scholars often assume a close association between transnational social practices and transcultural forms of belonging. Nonetheless, we argue that the distinction of both concepts is analytically important and helpful in understanding the transnational lives of second‐generation migrants. To analyse the biographical accounts and network maps of second‐generation Spaniards living in Switzerland, we draw a theoretical distinction between social practice (transnational networks) and forms of belonging (transcultural belonging). Our analysis shows second‐generation migrants maintaining social networks over time, interrupting them, or reconnecting with them. Their sense of belonging may either endure or fade. Although the interconnection between social networks and the sense of belonging is neither straightforward nor causal, we can nevertheless identify five types of network/belonging combinations. These types describe the various ways in which second‐generation migrants are likely to articulate transnational networks and transcultural belonging in their lives.