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Mapping the Transnational World

How We Move and Communicate across Borders, and Why It Matters

Emanuel Deutschmann

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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Pädagogik


A study of the structure, growth, and future of transnational human travel and communication

Increasingly, people travel and communicate across borders. Yet, we still know little about the overall structure of this transnational world. Is it really a fully globalized world in which everything is linked, as popular catchphrases like “global village” suggest? Through a sweeping comparative analysis of eight types of mobility and communication among countries worldwide—from migration and tourism to Facebook friendships and phone calls—Mapping the Transnational World demonstrates that our behavior is actually regionalized, not globalized.

Emanuel Deutschmann shows that transnational activity within world regions is not so much the outcome of political, cultural, or economic factors, but is driven primarily by geographic distance. He explains that the spatial structure of transnational human activity follows a simple mathematical function, the power law, a pattern that also fits the movements of many other animal species on the planet. Moreover, this pattern remained extremely stable during the five decades studied—1960 to 2010. Unveiling proximity-induced regionalism as a major feature of planet-scale networks of transnational human activity, Deutschmann provides a crucial corrective to several fields of research.

Revealing why a truly global society is unlikely to emerge, Mapping the Transnational World highlights the essential role of interaction beyond borders on a planet that remains spatially fragmented.

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Emanuel Deutschmann



Phenomenon, Central America, Epistemology, World-systems theory, Border Region, Social theory, Civilization, World-system, Society, Oceania, Social integration, Search engine optimization, European Commission, Anthropocentrism, Latin America, Transnational governance, Organization, Level of analysis, Power law, Southeast Asia, Political science, Globalism, Global citizenship, European integration, Universalization, Intergovernmental organization, Consumerism, Currency, Capitalism, Human behavior, Dynamic density, International community, Social research, Cosmopolitanism, Regional integration, Comparative research, International Social Survey Programme, Social relation, Transnationalism, Border control, Workspace, Globalization, Illustration, Theory, Global justice movement, Instance (computer science), Explanatory power, Transdisciplinarity, World population, Analytical sociology, Finding, International organization, International communication, Make A Difference, Historical region, Case study, International relations, Social constructionism, City-state, Comparative sociology, Product market, Quantity, Remittance, Modernization theory, Human capital flight, Nation state, Conceptualization (information science), Marxism, Explanation, Statista, Economic union, Sociology, Social science, Central Asia, World Tourism Organization, Travel agency, Comparative advantage, International Networks (country code), Naturalization, Spatial scale, North America, Clustering coefficient, Contact hypothesis, Map projection, Mercosur, Urban sociology, Institution, World Polity Theory, Comparative Study, Technology, Refugee, Migration studies, Tourism, Fortress Europe, International trade, Global governance, Border, Structural pattern, Imagery, Critical geography