Dissertation Abstracts

The Quest for Better Wages and Parenting from afar: the case of transit family lifestyles in cities of Africa

Author: Buyana, kareem , kbuyana@gmail.com
Department: Sociology, School of Humanities and Sciences
University: Stanford University, USA
Supervisor: Marriane Cooper
Year of completion: 2013
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: transnationalism , African family , mobility , cities
Areas of Research: , Historical and Comparative Sociology


Cities of Africa are now places of transit lifestyles associated with the in-and outflow of formal wedged workers, creating new socio-demographic spaces that reshape the way families are structured and the relations therein. This thesis sets out to examine how the quest for better wedges by mobile urban professionals, alongside other factors, has altered the form and functioning of African families. A historical perspective is given on the traditions and values that lie beneath African family dynamics, for purposes of illustrating how gender roles and societal expectations on parenting and socialization of children have been gradually reconfigured by urban migratory lifestyles. The concept transnational parenthood is applied as a reference to permanent and temporary work-related movement across borders while maintaining familial ties with children and other relatives back home. The socio-economic consequences of transnational parenthood are analyzed together with the implications for immigration policy and planning in Africa, using literature and ethnographic data generated from mobile professionals in Kampala city, Uganda’s capital.

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