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Journal Article

The Social Face of Networks: The Features of Maintaining Self in Migrant Space

Maheshvari Naidu
Sociological Bulletin
Vol. 63, No. 1 (January - April 2014), pp. 41-58
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43854952
Page Count: 18

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Topics: Hindus, Cultural identity, Food, Foodways, Migrant communities, Rice, Group identity, Homes, Lamps, Social identity
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The Social Face of Networks: The Features of Maintaining Self in Migrant Space
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Abstract

The social network perspective starts with individual actors and observes, among other things, the social and opportunistic ties and emerging patterns of arrangements within the group structure. This paper is a theoretical engagement with networks as a sociological phenomenon and is concerned with how these patterns of arrangements are ordered along the notion of boundaries that facilitate reciprocal kinship relations and articulation of self. It works through the theoretical lens of social identity theory and draws from three qualitative studies amongst two small networb of migrants: from Gujarat in India and from Sierra Leone in North Africa. It uses the comparative ethnographic vignettes and qualitative face-to-face interviews from those studies to draw attention to how small-scale networks perform the role of kinship circles and offer constructed relationships that migrants can turn to within the host society. The study engages with these constructed and reciprocal relationships through the analytic tool of boundaries and probes how these networks further help in holding together a sense of self and identity within a foreign host space.

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