Negotiating the racial and ethnic boundaries of citizenship: white South African migrants in the UK and their sense of belonging

Halvorsrud, Kristoffer (2014) Negotiating the racial and ethnic boundaries of citizenship: white South African migrants in the UK and their sense of belonging. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This PhD thesis is based on a qualitative interview study of white South Africans who have migrated to the UK in the post-apartheid era, focusing on their sense of belonging and ‘racial’/ethnic boundary-processes in society. With the increasing South African emigration in the post-apartheid era, the UK has been South Africans’ primary destination. Nevertheless, this migrant group has received relatively little scholarly attention. It could seem as though South Africans have been considered less interesting for research purposes, as their typical status as white and relatively privileged migrants appears to have made them better perceived by the British state apparatus and public than many ‘non-white’ and other disadvantaged migrants (Crawford 2011).

By investigating migrants’ sense of belonging, this thesis complements the traditional preoccupations with the formal rights and duties of citizenship (e.g. Marshall 1998 [1963]). Moreover, the analytical insights of ‘intersectionality’ can rectify the one-dimensional conceptualisations (e.g. Kymlicka 1995) which run the risk of labelling all members of an ethnic minority or migrant group as equally disadvantaged without considering how social categories like gender and class might position them differently in particular ‘social hierarchies’. ‘Intersectionality’ – as typically applied to reveal intersecting categorisations/oppressions affecting multiply disadvantaged groups such as black women – can therefore be employed also when demonstrating how members of relatively privileged groups may be situated differently according to ethnicity, class, gender, and so on. Noticeably, varying forms of inclusion and exclusion can be negotiated simultaneously depending on the social categories being underscored (Yuval-Davis 2011a). The psychosocial concerns affecting even relatively privileged migrant groups – as migrants in a new context – are evidenced by the ways in which white South Africans negotiate away boundaries of exclusion by drawing on the more privileged aspects of their group status in order to distinguish themselves from disadvantaged groups in British and South African society.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Pero, D.
Stevenson, N.
Keywords: Citizenship, Migration, Belonging, ‘Whiteness’, Intersectionality
Subjects: D History - General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Sociology and Social Policy
Item ID: 14284
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2014 11:50
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2017 07:16

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