The Socio-Political Experiences of United States Citizens Living Abroad in the Age of Donald Trump

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 18:30
Oral Presentation
Jan DOERING, McGill University, Canada
This paper examines the socio-political experiences of United States citizens living abroad in the age of Donald J. Trump’s populist presidency. The U.S.’s central role in world politics has always engendered not only admiration but also a certain degree of resentment and hostility. In many countries, however, the reputation of America and Americans has deteriorated in response to Donald Trump. What repercussions do these changes have for expatriates from the United States? Drawing on data collected through participant observation and 28 in-depth interviews with American expatriates living in Canada or Germany, this paper analyzes how Americans experience their nationality while living abroad. Specifically, the paper examines American nationality as a source of stigma that expatriates have to either conceal or manage. In doing so, the paper contributes to the literature on transnational politics in the sociology of migration but reverses the typical focus on the flow of people from less- into more developed nations. In this specific context, the findings illuminate how populist homeland politics affect the lives of (temporary) emigrants. The study also contributes to the literature on ethnicity and nationhood by analyzing the concrete experience of American nationality, a rarely examined but important social identity.