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Title: Relative distance : practices of relatedness among transnational Kenyan families
Author: Fesenmyer, Leslie E.
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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In this thesis I examine familial dynamics and relations between Kenyan migrants in London and their non-migrant kin remaining in Kenya. Two transnational family configurations predominate: younger migrants and their non-migrant parents and siblings, and older transnational couples (migrant wives and non-migrant husbands). If migration is understood as a morally-laden social process, then how migrant and non-migrant kin engage with the distance(s) between them become the grounds on which what it means to be related is expressed and negotiated. Distance emerges not only as geographic and physical, but also as socially generated by the actions and inactions of kin. I argue that the emplacement of kin in different contexts post-migration, particularly younger migrants within a nascent Pentecostal community in London, mediates transnational kin relations. The thesis challenges a predominant strand of research on transnational families, which contends that migration disrupts kin relations and contributes to the commodification of love and care. Moreover, the focus on transnational Kenyan families fills a gap in African diaspora research that has largely focused on migrants from West Africa and issues of identity, diaspora politics, and development, while also addressing themes in African anthropology, such as, intergenerational reciprocity, social reproduction, and change.
Supervisor: Neveu-Kringelbach, Hélène; Charsley, Katharine Sponsor: Godfrey Lienhardt Memorial Fund ; University of Oxford ; Carr and Stahl Fund
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Anthropology ; Social anthropology ; Transnationalism ; kinship ; migration ; Kenya ; United Kingdom