Migration Aspirations and their Transformative Effects on the Integration of Bangladeshi Migrants in the UK
Migration is not a new phenomenon: social scientists from several disciplines have developed a wide variety and fragmented set of theories on migration. The bulk of migration studies follow people away from home and address migration aspirations as migration issues, overlooking the fact that migration considerations are socially embedded and culturally informed.
My research adopts a novel approach focusing on both pre-post migration dynamics as a relatively separate study field. I will look into transformative effects of imagined futures ‘away from home’ in the context of the wider interconnections between globalisation and socio-cultural, political and economic transformations and examine how such imaginations transform notions of identity and belonging, livelihood strategies, citizenship and social commitment, health and well being of immigrants. I will analyse how such culturally embedded imaginations link up to local evaluations of human risk in the host country.
The Bangladeshi immigrant community in the UK offers a highly suitable site for investigation of those assumptions. It is evident that emigration is the ambition of ever more Bangladeshis, from all segments of society, although any estimation of the number of emigrants would be a wild guess since many emigrants have adopted illegal channels of emigration. I will outline a holistic, in-depth investigation of the migration aspirations and acculturation experiences of British Bangladeshis settled in the UK. I will address in detail how migration, acculturation and integration affect the social well being of Bangladeshis in the UK as well as exploring which features of the local environment help or hinder the processes of social and cultural integration. A better understanding of these issues will facilitate provision of appropriate social services to ethnic minority populations in the UK focusing on Bangladeshis as a specific example but with applicability to the wider South Asian communities.
Farid Ahamed is a Visiting Fellow at CRASSH, Easter 2012.
Professor Farid Ahamed has recently taken up a post at the South Asian University in Delhi and was previously at the faculty of Anthropology at Chittagong University, Bangladesh. With advanced academic trainings in Sociology (BSS and MSS, Chittagong University), Anthropology (MPhil, Cambridge University; PhD, London University, UK) and Post-doctoral fellowship in Geography, Durham University, UK. His areas of specialization rest primarily in narrative-based applied anthropological in-depth research on livelihood, globalization-driven adaptation, emerging crises and coping and survival strategies of diverse people and communities as well as ethnic dynamics and social change in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh. Some of his other fields of interest are anthropology of environmentalility, forest-dwelling peoples and marginality, anthropology and development, anthropology of public action and non-governmentality, material culture and waste economy, diaspora and migration, child labour, issues of adolescents, public health and bio-medical anthropology. As an action/development researcher my specialisation also includes participatory, evaluative, exploratory, explanatory and triangulation researches; as well as appraisal, assessments, evaluation and monitoring of action interventions.
Since 1989, he has been actively engaged in numerous national and international research projects at home and abroad on community dynamics and livelihood, indigenous land and resource use and process of marginalization, social forestry, water and sanitation, disaster preparedness and management, education and human development. He has worked for different renowned national and international organizations like ESRC, UK, UNICEF-Bangladesh, ActionAid Bangladesh, Asia Foundation, USAID, Werner Gren Foundation, USA, University College London, UK, British Academy, U.K, Winrock International, USA, Indian Council for Social Research (ICSR), University Grants Commission etc. Alongside academic social research, He is also actively engaged in the advancement of need-specific innovative research communication—trainings, dialogues, forums, symposia, seminars, workshops and research publications.