School of Social Sciences

African Migrants focus of PhD study by UKZN staffer

Humanities academic Dr Biniam Misgun recently graduated with his PhD in Sociology from UKZN for his research titled, Identities, Identifications, and Strategies of Integration of African Migrants in South Africa: A Case Study of Rwandan and Ethiopian Communities.
Dr Biniam Misgun
Dr Biniam Misgun

This research project has three fundamental components: i) making sense of the construction of social identities of African migrants; ii) problematising the very notion of integration; and iii) understanding African migrants’ strategies and tactics of integration and sense of communities.

Drawing from ethnographic accounts, it explores and examines integration as problematic, by exploring the tactics and strategies of integration of Ethiopian and Rwandan migrants in South Africa. It also interrogates the various modes of appropriation, invention, and subordination of narratives, and geographical, social, economic, cultural, and political spaces by transnational migrants and the state.

Misgun argues that the existing society and its configuration is central to explaining how transnational migrants as new comers experience or perceive inclusion and exclusion and their reaction and response to it. His dissertation interrogates and unpacks identity discourses and identifications deployed by Ethiopian and Rwandan migrants and their implications for the processes of integration and/or ‘enclave formation’.

His research considers ‘problematic of integration, instead of as an end, as a practice in the everyday, lived narratives, movements and moments of interactions and sociations. Sameness and difference, accentuated and (re)appropriated, shaped in movements and moments, is reflected in and frames the dynamics integration and sociations,’ he said.

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