Sokendai Review of Cultural and Social Studies


The Birth of the Baseball Migrant:
The Process of Creation of the Migrant Image
in the Dominican Republic


(Visiting Researcher/National Museum of Ethnology)

Key words:

transnationalism, remittance, Dominican York, baseball migrant, emigration

Focusing on transnational discursive relations in the Dominican Republic, this article aims to investigate how behavior is symbolized in the process of creating the migrant image of “Dominican York.” I further consider how the process of creating this image produced the figure of the baseball migrant.

Dominican emigration has increased substantially since the 1960s, and there are now about two million Dominicans living in the U.S.A. My fieldwork shows that they express a sense of still belonging to their homeland at two levels. The first is by keeping a direct connection through frequent calls to their homeland and sending remittances to their families. The second is reflected in the frequent return trips to their homeland.

The existing studies on Dominican emigration dealing with transnationalism have focused on the unidirectional impact of migrants on their native country by their sending of remittances. However, these studies have paid scant attention to an important aspect of everyday cultural practice in the sending society, that is, the effect of this immigration on morale and behavior in the local community back home. Social conditions in the Dominican Republic, however, remain difficult, and it is still true that local people need to receive more remittances. In the transnational discursive relations, nonmigrants have used local knowledge to create a migrant stereotype image of luxury and ostentation in “Dominican York.” In so doing, they have allowed migrants there to perform this role, and this has been a factor in the birth of the baseball migrant.

Here I indicate the process of how a stereotype image has been created through the transnational discursive relations of both migrants and nonmigrants. I will show the Dominican life strategy of survival with local knowledge in the face of a spreading, unstable, and unpredictable neo-liberal world.