Transnational migrant ties: social formation and reproduction among Armenians in Germany (completed)

Astghik Chaloyan

This research is devoted to the study of migrants through the lens of transnationalism. By revealing characteristic manifestations of transnationalism, cross-border attachments and encounters, it addresses issues of dual senses of belonging, multiple self-identifications and correspondingly different modes of attachments to the homeland. This project shows how various configurations can condition relevant encounters and representations and how the latter, in their turn, are manifested differently in pertinent configurations. Several factors make the Armenian case interesting and worth studying. The Armenian diaspora is considered a classic diasporic group, and the history of Armenian migration and diaspora formation dates back to very early centuries. This project, based on the study of Armenians in Germany, therefore provides a solid background for understanding the questions mentioned above. It not only highlights the importance of different waves of migration and migrant generations from the perspective of transnationalism, it also points to the importance of distinct modes and conditions of migration. Thus, this research not only views modes of attachments to one’s country of origin and peculiarities of the sense of belonging from the perspective of different migrant generations, it also emphasizes the importance of so-called ‘once diasporized’ and ‘multiply diasporized’ migrants. Therefore, this project studies the social formation and reproduction of transnational ties amongst Armenians in Germany. It puts forward the questions of whether transactional activity/ties/practices survive over generations and what kinds they are. Furthermore, the goal of this research is to determine whether, and to what extent, transnational engagements influence self-identification and the sense of belonging, and how this in its turn impacts on perceptions of components of belonging. This study therefore also takes into account the question of the durability of transnationalism and reveals that, although the social practices and life-styles of the second generation are not the continuation of their parents’ transnational involvements and connections to the country of origin, they still bear the imprints of transnationalism. In addition, it concludes that cross-border ties do not necessarily need to be sustained and intensive; transnationalism, in its various manifestations, can instead undergo fluctuations. The project fleshes out different types of in-border and cross-border encounters and various modes of representations, thereby envisaging new concepts and explanations regarding such phenomena as transnationalism.

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