Indians in Aotearoa New Zealand: A study of migrant social networks and integration through an assemblage lens

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dc.contributor.advisor Humpage, L en
dc.contributor.advisor West-Newman, C en Chakiamury Joseph, Mary en 2017-09-06T23:20:18Z en 2017 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description.abstract Social networks are central to current discussion around migrant settlement and integration. This thesis uses the case study of Indian migrants who have gained permanent residence or citizenship in New Zealand to examine the nuances of migrant network diversity, as well as the impact of such networks on their integration at four different levels: legal; economic; community; and societal. Indian migrants constitute one of the most diverse groups of migrants moving to New Zealand, with cross-cutting layers of sub-regional, linguistic and religious identities that make it difficult to refer to just one ‘Indian’ ethnic identity. Given such diversity, this thesis draws upon data from forty-three interviews conducted with migrants from four ‘Indian’ communities – the Gujarati, Punjabi, Tamil and Keralites – to examine differences in, and the relative importance, of co-, intra- and inter-ethnic networks, particularly when it comes to gaining the legal status of permanent residence, employment and a sense of community and societal wellbeing and integration. To help capture the complexities of Indian migrant communities and their integration outcomes, this study draws on DeLanda’s (2006) assemblage theory. This assemblage lens first reveals the centrality of migrant capacities in building the personal networks and inter-ethnic relationships that nurture belonging to wider New Zealand society. Of particular note, the findings reveal that some migrants, especially those coming from bigger multicultural cities in India, were more likely to maintain a cosmopolitan sociability (Schiller et al., 2011, p.402) or the ability to create inclusive and open relations that enable greater participation in inter-ethnic networks. Importantly, the depth and character of such networks was determined not by sub-regional ‘ethnicity’ alone, but rather by capacities linked to a migrant’s cultural capital, multi-cultural knowledge and upbringing in India. Second, an assemblage lens allows us to understand the fluidity and transient nature of migrant social networks. In some cases, co- intra- and inter-ethnic networks territorialise giving a sense of stability (that is, rebuild the same kind of associations and affiliations the migrants had in India) and in other cases they deterritorialise (that is, challenge ‘traditional’ or expected networks and relationships due to exploitation, status hierarchies or lack of acceptance). Overall, it is impossible to claim any one outcome for ‘Indian’ migrants as a whole because their networks and levels/types of integration shift and reshape depending on time and place. Such findings have implications for our understanding of migrant integration within a host society, which cannot simply be determined by the size and quality of inter-ethnic networks. The thesis concludes that discussions about social integration must grapple with the complexity of both migrant networks and the fact that ‘integration’ occurs on at least four different levels. Thus, interventions to assist new migrants should not simply be targeted towards a particular ‘ethnic’ group without an understanding of the diverse capacities of individuals, as well as the pros and cons of migrant engagement in co-, intra- and inter-ethnic networks across differing levels of integration. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA99264930509102091 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
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dc.title Indians in Aotearoa New Zealand: A study of migrant social networks and integration through an assemblage lens en
dc.type Thesis en Sociology en The University of Auckland en Doctoral en PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
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pubs.elements-id 660087 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2017-09-07 en

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