Understanding Migrant Networks: A Study of Ghanaians in Sweden

Akwasi Osei will present a draft chapter from his on-going thesis project.

The aim of my thesis project is to portray the experience of Ghanaians among kinship networks in Stockholm as reflecting dynamic processes. Toeing the line of Cecilia Menjivar and Alejandro Portes, my disposition is that immigrant social networks do not exist in social vacuum. They are simultaneously affected by the context immigrants’ encounter, the inner workings of networks as well as by the social position of individuals involved. Rather than just focus on the roles that kinship plays in the immigrant life, I intend to highlight the processes that shape the roles. Drawing on ethnographic data, I would advance the following arguments:

  1. The presence of relatives at destinations does not guarantee notions of solidarity and support implicit in explanations of social networks. Values resulting from migrant networks are bounded by network type, network dynamics, and limitations.
  2. Political, legal, economic and social factors at destination combine to shape migrant experience and network roles.
  3. Migrants’ access and use of network resources differ in relation to migration type, migrant profile, and migrant aspirations.

In this introductory chapter, I set the scene and introduce various aspects of the study. I will pick on these individual aspects and develop them using ethnographic data.

Akwasi Osei, doctoral student in sociology

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