Dissertation Abstracts

The production and negotiation of difference in a world on the move: Brazilian migration to London

Author: Angelo M. Martins Jr, martins.ajunior@gmail.com
Department: Sociology
University: Goldsmiths College/University of London, United Kingdom
Supervisor: Caroline Knowles
Year of completion: 2016
Language of dissertation: United Kingdom

Keywords: Brazilian migration , Social differentiation , class and migration , Racialisation
Areas of Research: Migration , Local-Global Relations , Social Classes and Social Movements

Abstract

Through the lived experiences and narratives of Brazilian migrants in London, this thesis explores the intersections between processes of social differentiation and international migration. By examining the diverse journeys of Brazilians, I provide an in-depth ethnographic examination of the multivalent ways in which difference contours Brazilian migration. I argue that the group is diverse, comprised of individuals from different class backgrounds, regions, and genders, which shapes both their decisions to migrate as well as the distinct ways in which they live their lives in London. These migrants are continuously re-inventing, producing and negotiating ‘cultural’, class, and regional differences - often intersected by gender, ‘race’ and immigration status. By focusing on how these differences, rooted in the colonial and postcolonial history of Brazil, become reconstituted in new processes of social-differentiation and racialisation in the receiving society, this thesis analyses the ways in which these migrants construct ties of affinity as well as exclusions, through bodies and spaces. This includes the bodies with whom they relate and the spaces in which they circulate, as well as those they explicitly avoid. The empirical research draws on a mixed methods approach, which combines an 18-month ethnography in places of leisure with 33 in-depth interviews with Brazilians in London. Problematising widespread assumptions in the literature that ethnic commonalities result in the constitution of migrant communities based on solidarity, this thesis makes important empirical and theoretical contributions to studies of migration through its focus on how the continuous production and negotiation of difference affects the way migrants live in a global world.

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