Unearthing Migrant Identities - An Exploratory Study into North-South Migrant Motivations in Dakar
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This research aims at developing a deeper understanding of European and North-American migrants moving from the global North towards the global South. North-South migration as a phenomenon has not received as much attention in existing migration studies literature, as has South-North migration. Less is known about the motivations, trajectories, and networks of people moving from the global North to regions constituting the global South. In the light of the intense scrutiny surrounding contemporary South-North migrations, this research argues that an expansion of popular understandings of ‘migration’ to include North- South flows is necessary in order to universality of migration as a phenomenon and an essential part of life. Towards this end, this research aims to study the personal motivations of North-South migrants, in particular Euro-American immigrants, in migrating outside their home countries using the context of Dakar, Senegal as a case study, from a post-colonialist perspective and transnational approach to migration. Using a combination of ethnography and a grounded theory approach, I conduct ethnographic fieldwork and in-depth interviews with four North-South migrants and one member of the local population to explore various components of migrant motivations. Central findings of this research shed light on parallels between North-South and South-North migrant motivations, in that they closely relate to the search and aspiration for a better life. They also reveal the prominence of the identity of the ‘expat’ in North-South migrant discursive practices, that operationalizes colonial continuities in the way that North-South migrants build their motivations, legitimize their movements to the global South and differentiate themselves from ‘migrants’ as a category.
Master's thesis in Migration and intercultural relations