Competing meanings of the diaspora: the case of Zimbabweans in Britain

Pasura, D. (2010) Competing meanings of the diaspora: the case of Zimbabweans in Britain. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 36(9), pp. 1445-1461. (doi: 10.1080/1369183X.2010.498670)

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The diaspora literature has tended to narrow itself to the marking out and placing of boundaries at the conceptual level. While still contributing to the elaboration of the concept of diaspora, this article seeks to answer two questions. What meanings do Zimbabweans in Britain give to their diasporic condition and experience? How do such meanings influence and shape attitudes towards return to the homeland or feelings of belonging to the hostland? The article is based on multi-sited ethnography, comprising 33 in-depth interviews and participant observation in four research sites, and draws upon concepts of diaspora and transnationalism as theoretical frameworks. It examines the process by which Zimbabweans in Britain negotiate boundaries, assert meanings, interpret their own pasts, and define themselves in relation to others in the hostland. The findings suggest that, whereas the concept of diaspora typically emphasises group cohesion, Zimbabweans in Britain describe their experience in complex ways. Some depict the diaspora as reverse colonisation; some see it in terms of Babylon and Egypt metaphors; and others talk of the diaspora as wenela, an acronym referring to a labour recruitment system.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Pasura, Dr Dominic
Authors: Pasura, D.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
ISSN (Online):1469-9451

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