Chapter 1

Introduction: Literature and Theory

Chapter Abstract

In this introductory chapter, I provide an overview of the study of American emigration and an introduction to the common theories and themes in these studies.  I present migration theories at the macro, meso, and micro levels that drive this dissertation: namely, migration transition theorymigration systems theory, and transnational and diaspora theories, respectively.  I also provide an introduction to the methodology of this dissertation.  In addition, I discuss the multiple contributions of this extensive study of American emigration.  This dissertation contributes to sociological knowledge in general and to the field of migration studies in particular through: methodological contributions regarding use of the pragmatic approach (rather than the postpositivist or interpretivist approaches); furthering the understanding of reverse and alternative migration flows; and content analysis of media framing of transnationalism and transnational migration.