Research Group Transnationalism Working Paper
Practised imagination. Tracing transnational networks in Crete and beyond
- The imagination has become a major site for studying transnational cultural flows. Yet it is mainly the mass media that are explored as channels directing the imagination from "the West" towards "the rest". And there is still little empirical "testing" of this field. How do such ‐ and other ‐ imaginary sources work into social practice? And what does such "practised imagination" imply for the practice of transnational anthropology? This article attempts to address these questions from the perspective of fieldwork in progress. In and between Crete and Germany I traced transnational networks based on the reciprocal mobilities of migration, remigration, and tourism. Here, multiple domains of imagination are drawn upon by various audiences, thus effectively contributing to the creation of these relations and the places in which they localise. Anthropological research on tourism and migration has tended to separate the imagination ‐ as being an external impact ‐ from local practice. Yet, transnational ethnography needs to challenge this opposition and is in itself a strategy to do so, in that it perceives the imagination as a practice of transcending physical and cultural distance.