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Migrants in a globalised world. Transnational practices of Indians in Germany

Dr Carsten Butsch |  Institute of Geography |  University of Cologne

Globalization is not only leading to an increase of migration, but also changes the way migrants live. Through the decrease of transportation cost and new means of communication, migrants are living increasingly transnational lives. They are embedded in social networks at their places of origin and where they sojourn. Through these networks they induce changes “here” and “there”. Taking the example of Indian migrants in Germany, the presentation will focus on migrants’ transnational practices and networks.
First, the development of transnationalism as a perspective in migration research will be sketched briefly. Second, the migration from India to Germany will be described against the background of the genesis of the global Indian diaspora. In the main section, findings of an ongoing DFG project will be presented. Based on in-depth interviews with migrants, their pathways to Germany and their embedding in transnational networks and transnational practices will be analysed. A focus will be laid on remittances, which are sent for supporting either families or charitable activities in India. Finally, the construction of migrants’ identities will be discussed, including the perceived challenges and benefits of living transnationally. Moreover, the project’s contribution towards the enhancement of transnationalism will be highlighted.