For more than a century a substantial South Asian minority has been living in Kenya. Within a few decades a majority of the Kenyan Asians has managed to transform their living conditions from an impoverished rural background in South Asia to a globalised and economically successful middle class in East Africa. Therefore this research sets an example of migration as an opportunity for social mobility.
The study is based on empirical data collected with South Asians in Kenya, who were differentiated by gender, age, migratory generation and other social boundaries. The research is divided into three levels of analysis: inter-ethnic and intra-ethnic relations, i.e. the relations within the South Asian minority, as well as the relations within the family. To understand the complexity of migrants' lives an approach of 'geographies of intersectionality' was developed which takes different intersecting social boundaries into account and additionally considers the significance of place. The study shows that migration has an impact on the relations between genders, age groups and migratory generations and leads to changing identities and new lifestyles.
Pascale Herzig has written her PhD research at the Department of Geography, University of Zurich. Her areas of specialisation are migration and gender studies, social differences and identities, South Asians in East Africa.