Highly Skilled Expatriates' Networks in the Cosmopolitan City: Constructing Post-migration Patterns of Belonging in Geneva (forthcoming)

Within the field of migration studies, the construction of transnational networks and multilocal belongings has been widely described (Beck 2000, Glick-Schiller et al. 1995). However, much of this literature focuses on the construction of networks based on nationality, ethnicity or religion. Studies on how migrants (re)create diverse kind of ties within a host society remain insufficient. My presentation argues that highly skilled expatriates in Geneva not only construct networks based on pre-migration factors, but also establish ties that rely on new patterns of identification and belonging. Furthermore, these new patterns are closely linked to the urban dynamic of the city. This research is based on participant observation and in-depth interviews in two fields, one based on the United Nations Women’s Guild and the other on expat online forums. Interestingly, it seems in the first field that constructing ties and solidarity at the city level relies on a hybrid process of folklorization of cultural diversity and feminization of migration. In the second field, online interactions appear to be constitutive of an “expat identity” linked to the localization of specific residential and leisure places in the city centre and thus embedded in the urban dynamic of Geneva. These results shed light on expatriates’ networks relying on the construction of post-migration patterns of belonging within an urban context. Furthermore, they allow for broader consideration of a changing city centre through cosmopolitan ways of life and gentrification induced by the presence of highly skilled expatriates.

Presented at:
Highly-skilled migrants into the 21st century, Middlesex University, GB, May 24-25, 2012

 Record created 2012-02-29, last modified 2018-03-17

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