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Dispossession and DisplacementForced Migration in the Middle East and North Africa$
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Dawn Chatty and Bill Finlayson

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264591

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264591.001.0001

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The Transnational Turn in Migration Studies and the Afghan Social Networks

The Transnational Turn in Migration Studies and the Afghan Social Networks

(p.45) 2. The Transnational Turn in Migration Studies and the Afghan Social Networks
Dispossession and Displacement

Alessandro Monsutti

British Academy

Since the 1980s, migration has undergone various developments that have changed the understanding of the concept of migration. The former understanding of migration as the integration of the migrant in the host society or the return of the migrant to the society of origin was proceeded by complex migrations and multiple social relations across boundaries. This migration trend paved the way for the term ‘transnationalism’. This term suggests that sociocultural groups are no longer territorially defined but rather are defined through migrations, and a global ethnography has been created. This chapter illustrates the broad potential of the transnational approach by analysing Afghan refugees and migrants, particularly the Hazaras who originated in the mountainous region of Afghanistan. These refugees were a result of the 1978 communist coup and the 1979 Soviet intervention in Afghanistan. Afghan refugees form the largest displaced population. This exodus of the Afghans was not entirely dictated by war, insecurity and poverty but as well as the nomadic nature of their life where mobility is seen as a planned strategy. In migration and exile, the process of integration and definitive return are seldom achieved as movement and mobility is continuous.

Keywords:   complex migrations, multiple social relations, transnationalism, sociocultural groups, global ethnography, transnational approach, Afghan refugees

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