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The ‘Expatriate’: The Postcolonial Politics of a Migration Category

Kunz, Sarah Marie; (2018) The ‘Expatriate’: The Postcolonial Politics of a Migration Category. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This thesis explores the ‘expatriate’ as a migration category. Its central aim is to explore the postcolonial power relations working in and through the ‘expatriate’. Central questions guiding this effort are how the ‘expatriate’ is produced, negotiated and contested and what work it performs. The thesis inquires into the category’s multiplicity and mobility, and its relation to the category ‘migrant’. To do so, I adopt a methodological approach of ‘following the category’. Categories’ journeys and transformations are revealing about wider socio-political processes and changing power geometries. Following the ‘expatriate’ is a grounded endeavour for which I deploy primarily ethnographic and archival methodologies in and across three sites: The Expatriate Archive Centre in Den Haag, International Human Resource Management literature, and ‘expatriate’ social spaces in Nairobi. These are sites where the ‘expatriate’ is central and that are central to the ‘expatriate’. They give actuality and authority to it, yet are diverse in its uses. This thesis reveals the persistent, if not straightforward relevance of Euro-American imperialisms for the constitution of the ‘expatriate’. Moreover, the category is frequently put to work to (re)produce racialised capitalist power formations by occluding, naturalising or justifying asymmetrical power relations and the inequalities they generate and depend on. This functioning and political currency of the ‘expatriate’ are centrally bound up with conceptual multiplicity and mobility. The ‘expatriate’ is inscribed with an array of meanings and it works variously as synonym, subtype and Other to the category ‘migrant’. This polysemy is not a random collection of senses, but historically tethered by unequal regimes of (im)mobility and made to do political work. The category ‘expatriate’ is thus embroiled in the wider politics of ordering movement and defining belonging, and is thereby intimately bound up with the negotiation of power in a postcolonial world.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The ‘Expatriate’: The Postcolonial Politics of a Migration Category
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10054614
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