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A Fractured Diaspora: Strategies and Identities among Zimbabweans in Britain

Thesis Abstract:

The thesis analyses the experiential, performative and lived realities of the Zimbabwean diaspora in Britain. It is based on an innovative multi-sited ethnography, comprising 33 in-depth interviews and participant observation in four research sites, and draws upon concepts of diaspora and transnationalism as theoretical and analytical frameworks. Whereas the concept of diaspora typically emphasises group cohesion and solidarity, the thesis argues that the Zimbabwean diaspora in Britain has to be understood as fractured and fragmented. The diaspora is fractured in terms of ethnicity and gender; the various strategies and routes used to enter Britain; migrants’ contrasting characteristics and degrees of participation in diaspora politics; the diverse meanings of the homeland and the multiple diasporic identities etched in the hostland.

On the basis of data from Coventry, Birmingham, London and Wigan, the thesis examines the triadic relationship of the diaspora to the homeland and to the hostland, as well as to the group itself. Core themes and sub themes that are addressed include the phases and patterns of migration from Zimbabwe; transnational diaspora politics; the participation of the diaspora in paid work; the configuration of gender relations and roles; and the meanings of diaspora and attitudes towards return or settlement.

The thesis is distinctive in the following respects: its use of multi-sited ethnographic methodology to generate data; the theoretical and empirical demonstration of how migrants participate in transnational diaspora politics; the investigation of the ability of social actors to resist institutional structures in their everyday lives in the hostland; the exploration of how gendered identities are configured in the public and private spaces of the diaspora; and the conceptual and theoretical interpretation of the Zimbabwean diaspora vis-à-vis other accounts of global diasporas. This research represents a contribution to our knowledge of the Zimbabwean diaspora in particular and to the field of diaspora and transnational studies in general.

See Table of Contents:

Selected publications:
  • Pasura, D. 2008. 'Gendering the diaspora: Zimbabwean Migrants in Britain' in African Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Africa in a Global World 1 (1-2): 86-109
  • Pasura, D. 2009. 'Zimbabwean migrants in Britain: An overview' in Network Migration Europe
  • Pasura, D. 2010 'A gendered analysis of land reforms in Zimbabwe' in Women's Studies International Forum. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2010.04.002 [DOI link]
  • Pasura, D. 2010 'Competing meanings of the diaspora: the case of Zimbabweans in Britain' in Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. doi:10.1080/1369183X.2010.498670 [DOI link]
  • Pasura, D. 2010 'Zimbabwean transnational diaspora politics in Britain,' in McGregor, J. and Primorac, R. (eds.) Zimbabwe’s New Diaspora: Displacement and the Cultural Politics of Survival, Oxford: New York: Berghahn Books, pp. 103-121.
  • Pasura, D. 2010 'Regendering the Zimbabwean diaspora in Britain' in Crush, J. and Tevera, D. (eds.) Zimbabwe's Exodus: Crisis, Migration, Survival, Southern African Migration Programme/IDRC
  • Pasura, D. (forthcoming) 'A Fractured transnational diaspora: the case of Zimbabweans in Britain' in International Migration.
  • Pasura, D. (forthcoming) 'Towards a multi-sited ethnography of the Zimbabwean diaspora in Britain' in Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power.
  • McGregor J. and Pasura D. (forthcoming) 'Diasporic Repositioning and the Politics of Re-engagement: Developmentalising Zimbabwe’s Diaspora?' in The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs
  • Pasura, D. (forthcoming) 'Diaspora' in Social-Pastoral Dictionary of Migrations, Rome, Scalabrini International Migration Institute
  • Pasura, D. 2006. Mapping Exercise: Zimbabwe International Organisation for Migration, London, Available at
Selected Conferences:
Research interests:

I have research interests in Migration, Diasporas, Transnationalism, Identity, Gender studies and Social theory. If you have a particular interest in my work, you are welcome to contact me for more information through my email

I am now an ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow at UCL Department of Geography.


Dr Dominic Pasura

University Of Warwick
Department of Sociology
United Kingdom