The Transnational Turn in Migration Studies and the Afghan Social Networks

Alessandro Monsutti

in Dispossession and Displacement

Published by British Academy

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780197264591
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734397 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Occasional Papers

The Transnational Turn in Migration Studies and the Afghan Social Networks

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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

Chapter.  8841 words. 

Subjects: Migration Studies

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