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Title: The negotiation of belonging: an exploration of the roles of kinship and the state among elderly West Indian migrants residing in a sheltered housing scheme in Brixton, London
Author: Allwood, Audrey
ISNI:       0000 0004 2671 3981
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis is concerned with the contemporary experiences of long-termWest Indian migrants to Britain, residing in a sheltered housing scheme in Brixton. It assesses their multi-layered negotiation of belonging, connections with the West Indies, their family and the British nation state amid the issues of race and social exclusion. The elderly people in this research migrated to improve their economic and social status. However, due to combined factors, such as estrangement from home and fragmented familial structures that do not fully support them, they maintained their original working-class status. They rely on state services but tensions in service provision test their inclusion. The housing scheme aims to create a community where the elderly people can associate with each other, bond, locate and root in the scheme and in the external local community. However, factions and divisions arise affecting their belonging. In addition, gender differentiation became apparent as my male informants are less connected to their family. Overall, my elderly informants remained culturally aligned to their sense of remaining West Indian despite the multiplicity of 'disjunctures' (Appadurai 1996, Besson 2005) they encounter amid shifting and fluid boundaries. Indeed, many travel to and from the West Indies. However, as the unsuccessful returnees show they cannot permanently settle due to kinship estrangement, insufficient finance and reliance on the British state. Therefore, I suggest, they stayed in England by default, becoming 'marginal within places'. Utilising Gramsci's (1990) approach to social change I assess my informants' agency and the agency of others on their behalf as the migrants strive to maintain their identity, culture and place within complex contemporary society. Bhabha's (1994) concepts of 'hybridity' and the 'third space' contribute to my analysis, highlighting the contradictory and confusing issues associated with the migrants' culture of movement, challenging the notions of settlement, inclusion and belonging.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available