An investigation into the dynamics of transnational citizenship among Zimbabwean migrants in Potchefstroom
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This study delves into the scholarly conversation on migration and citizenship. The investigation is focused the dynamics of transnational citizenship among Zimbabwean migrants in Potchefstroom, in the North West province of South Africa. This involves, therefore, the understanding of the perceptions, interpretations and the practices that Zimbabwean migrants engage in whilst in Potchefstroom/SA, and how these constitute a transnational citizenship. The lack of scholarly research related to, firstly Zimbabwean migrants in Potchefstroom, and secondly, the dynamics of transnational citizenship among them resulted in the need to attempt to close this gap. Thus, an empirical investigation, adopting the instrumental exploratory single case study research design, was conducted, and included 20 interviews as well as 4 focus groups. Purposive sampling and snowball sampling were utilised in conjunction with each other to select participants. Upon obtaining the data, it was sorted into defined categories, and it was through the thematic analysis of these categories that a Zimbabwean narrative of ‘being Zimbabwean’ and ‘living in Potchefstroom’ was weaved out from their empirical findings. From this narrative, the dynamics of transnational citizenship among Zimbabwean migrants in Potchefstroom were, therefore, determined, as well as the way in which they constitute a transnational citizenship. The narrative was analysed through the use of Bourdieu’s theory of practice as a theoretical anchor, and it revealed that position-taking in the field required, while observing field doxa, navigating and negotiating the vertical and horizontal relationships and power distributions that characterise a field. Zimbabwean migrants encounter these vertical and horizontal relationships and power distributions with both Potchefstroom/SA and Zimbabwe (as migrants and citizens), as well as the actors within each of these realms. The findings, therefore, essentially revealed that: 1) Zimbabwean migrants never clinically cut ties with their home nations; and 2) the vertical and horizontal relationships structure the grand field and fields that Zimbabwean migrants enter in the Potchefstroom/SA-and-Zimbabwe; and 3) the dynamics of their transnational citizenship are the practices in which they engage in whilst in Potchefstroom fields. Their practices are an interplay of their habitus and capital, whilst they perceive and interpret the doxa of the fields they enter. This results in the dynamics of transnational citizenship. Lastly, the study contributes to the development of the body of scholarly research on Zimbabwean migrants in small towns such as, in this case, Potchefstroom.
- Humanities