Pasura, Dominic (2011) Toward a Multisited Ethnography of the Zimbabwean Diaspora in Britain. Identities, 18 (3). pp. 250-272. ISSN 1070-289X

Classical diaspora scholars have constructed diasporic identities in essentialistic and unitary fashion, with phrases like the “Jewish identity,” “Palestinian identity,” and “Irish identity” denoting migrants as homogeneous ethnic communities. Using the author's multisited ethnographic research among Zimbabweans in Britain, the article explores the diverse ways in which diasporic identities are performed, expressed, and contested in Britain. On the basis of data from a pub, a gochi-gochi (barbecue) and the Zimbabwe Vigil, this article argues that the concept of diaspora, by emphasizing a static and singular conception of group identity, removes the particular ways in which diasporic life is experienced. The ethnographic “sites” were chosen to highlight different geographic settings to show the contrast between multicultural global cities and how different spaces of association attracted distinctive diasporic communities of race, ethnicity, gender, class, and legal status. The article identifies a pattern of diasporic identity development that largely uses the homeland as a frame of reference, and this is contrasted with alternative, hyphenated identities that challenge the fixation of identities to a specific place. It can be suggested that these diasporic identities are bottom-up forms of resistance to the institutionally ascribed refugee identity, perceptions of blocked social mobility, racism, and discrimination in the hostland.

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