Settling in a global city: transnational practices and cosmopolitan openness in sociality patterns

Tapini, Elisavet (2018) Settling in a global city: transnational practices and cosmopolitan openness in sociality patterns. PhD thesis, Middlesex University.

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This study focuses on highly-skilled migrants from other EU countries, who have settled in London. It aims to examine the intersection between transnational practices and cosmopolitan attitudes in their sociality patterns, and how multiple identities are negotiated in these patterns. Transnational scholars have mostly focused on single ethnicities and their respective social networks (Glick–Schiller, et al., 2011). London is frequently described as a cosmopolitan city. Still, to what extent people actually mix, across boundaries of ethnicity, remains an open question (Valentine, 2008). To address this, a combination of qualitative methods (semi-structured interviewing, visual interactive map, focus group) was utilised: 15 participants from different EU countries were interviewed individually, followed by a mapping exercise, prompting participants to provide identity referents for their significant others (e.g. nationality, gender, relationship status). Focus group discussion looked at attitudes towards London diversity. Using an empirical phenomenological approach, the study looks at both intended and unintended sociality patterns in participants’ narrative and mapping responses. Themes derived from participants’ narratives are discussed alongside the typology generated for the mapping exercise: findings are in support of a situated cosmopolitanism, with transnational practices embedded in mixed social networks. Cosmopolitan attitudes are further situated by a cultural/ regional proximity or life-status commonalities, (e.g. family status or sexuality) in their personal networks. Long-lasting transnational bonds, such as family and ‘soul friendships’ (Morasanu, 2013) also situate this openness to the Other. It follows that, some form of belonging is necessary before participants extend their network to culturally-dissimilar others. Identity negotiations bring London, nationality and profession to the fore, followed by life-status identities. The study illustrated how EU-skilled migrants seek to actively engage with people from different backgrounds in London, choosing to form close social ties beyond the boundaries of nationality and profession. At the same time, participants portray themselves as more open to diversity than what identity referents of significant others in their mapping exercise reveal. Combining narrative and visual methods, this study provides an in-depth investigation of internalised limits to a cosmopolitan sociality, as well as further insights as to what constitutes the transnational in close 1-1 relationships.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Law and Politics
B. > Theses
Item ID: 25859
Depositing User: Vimal Shah
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2018 13:56
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2019 16:39

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