Middling transnationalism and translocal lives: young Germans in the UK

Mueller, Dorothea Sophia (2013) Middling transnationalism and translocal lives: young Germans in the UK. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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The thesis examines the migration decision-making and everyday experiences of young
highly skilled professional migrants through the case study of German migration to the
UK. It develops a framework combining the twin notions of transnational urbanism and
translocal subjectivities, allowing a strong focus on migrants’ subjective experiences,
perceptions and emotionalities of mobility, while acknowledging the centrality of
spaces and places for them. The geographical setting of the case study further serves to
accentuate the relatively small-scale disruption occurring during the migration process,
and the subjectivities connected to this.

Data was collected in the UK (mainly London) during thirteen months of fieldwork,
using participant observation, in-depth interviews and expert interviews. The research
reveals a previously unacknowledged high ambivalence and diversity of this migrant
group. Young German highly skilled migrants display various mobility and migration
patterns with regard to the translocal connections they maintain, the emotional
importance they attach to these connections, and their previous internal and
international migration history. Three mobility types emerge from this: ‘bi-local’,
‘multi-local’ and ‘settled’ migrants. The close translocal connections practiced by
migrants can lead to conflict, particularly for bi-local migrants, as judging of the
migration project can occur by friends and families; meaning the spatial and emotional
proximity between the migrants and their social network can be both positive and
negative. The expectations towards the UK are also highly complex, and strongly
influence micro-scale personal geographies. Lastly, the diversity of migration projects
leads to widely varying attitudes towards fellow German migrants, as well as tensions
and potentially conflicts within German social spaces. Overall, a strong and pervasive
ambivalence about the migration experience emerges, which is experienced differently
by the three migrant groups and the geographical proximity between Germany and the
UK plays a large role in this.

This thesis adds empirical and analytical insight to the academic debate regarding young
professional migrants within the EU, and German contemporary migration in particular.
Theoretically, it contributes to the discussion around lifestyle migration and middling
transnationalism, and it enhances the practical use of the concept ‘emotional
geographies’ for migration studies.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic theory. Demography > HB0848 Demography. Population. Vital events
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2013 15:23
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2015 12:14
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/45313

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