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Transnational Communities Programme

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Kinship, Entrepreneurship and the Transnational circulation of assets

Short Summary

Principal Investigators
Dr. Roger Ballard
Department of Religions
University of Manchester
Oxford Road
Manchester M13 9PL
Dr. Katy Gardner
School of African and Asian Studies
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QN
Dr Roger Ballard
Tel: 0161 275 3605
Fax: 0161 275 3613
Duration of Research
September 1999 - 31 March 2002

Aims and objectives

Focused on three of the most salient components of Britain's South Asian population – Mirpuris from Pakistan, Jullunduri Sikhs from India, and Sylhetis from Bangladesh – this project has two central aims. Firstly, to explore why each of these communities has followed – and is continuing to follow – such a distinctive pattern of migration and family reunion; and secondly, to establish why the Jullunduris have pressed their way upwards through the employment market, the housing market, and the educational system very much more rapidly than either the Mirpuris or the Sylhetis.

With this in mind the project has three immediate objectives:

  • To explore the qualitative differences in the social, cultural and economic resources on which the members of each group has drawn as in the process of establishing ethnic colonies in Britain.
  • To examine the parallels and the differences in the ways in which each group has used the resources of their extended kinship networks to strategically recycle their human and financial assets on a global scale.
  • To analyse the way in which these entrepreneurial strategies have affected – and have in turn been affected by – differential patterns of income-generation, investment and educational achievement at both ends of the migratory chain.

Methodology/study design

Since the two investigators are no strangers to the field, their most immediate aim will be to deepen and to update their knowledge base, and to do so no less in quantitative than qualitative terms. Once this data is aboard, they will set about constructing an analytical model with which to account for the radical differences which are currently emerging between these three otherwise far from dissimilar transnational communities.

Academic and Policy implications

Apart from its contribution to theoretical discussions in academic contexts, the project will also have some much more immediate practical applications. These will include:

  • A much more sharply informed understanding of why it is that some sections of Britain's minority population currently appear to be much more 'deprived' than others.
  • Perspectives on the ways in which members of such groups might be encouraged to make more effective use of their cultural capital, so enabling them to emulate achievements of their more successful peers.
  • Indications as to the basis on which sending communities in the subcontinent might seek to make more effective use of the resources available within tier transnational diasporas.
  • As a source of well informed ethnographic insights of relevance to all those engaged in delivering public services to members of Britain's Mirpuri, Sylheti and Jullunduri populatiosn.


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