When migrants become hosts and nonmigrants become mobile: Bangladeshis visiting their friends and relatives in London

Miah, Md Farid and King, Russell (2020) When migrants become hosts and nonmigrants become mobile: Bangladeshis visiting their friends and relatives in London. Population, Space and Place. pp. 1-12. ISSN 1544-8444

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Abstract

Most studies of migrants visiting their friends and relatives (VFR) are on homeland visits. In this article, we reverse the transnational optic and study nonmigrants from the country of origin visiting their migrated friends and relatives abroad. We draw on participant observation and 57 interviews with migrant hosts and nonmigrant visitors carried out in London and in the Sylhet region of Bangladesh. Visits from the homeland to the diaspora are found to be deeply meaningful for the maintenance of transnational familyhood, especially at critical moments such as weddings, childbirth, and end of life. They are performative acts of belonging with unwritten rules of mutual obligations and choreographed itineraries to the houses of relatives and friends and to tourist sites. They also represent inequalities in economic status and social mobility between the migrants and their left‐behind relatives and friends in Bangladesh. Most visits are enjoyable for all concerned, but subtle tensions can arise, for instance, in the hosts' difficulty in managing their ongoing working lives with duties of hospitality and acting as guides and in visitors' intense schedule of duty visits to many relatives and lack of agency in stepping out of the Bangladeshi community in London. Furthermore, in an increasingly hostile environment for getting visas to visit the United Kingdom, an unequal and inhumane situation arises of blocked mobility.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2020 08:05
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2020 08:05
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/92595

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