GENDER, CULTURE AND BELONGING IN THE DIASPORIC SPACE: ZIMBABWEAN WOMEN IN BRITAIN

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

    Abstract

    Zimbabwean women in Britain have multiple cultural identities and inhabit multiple contested transnational spaces that locate them in contradictory ways. The women then must negotiate these spaces to integrate and function within these spaces. The aim of this thesis is to explore how gender intersects with culture, race, social class, and immigration status in Zimbabwean women’s everyday lives in the diaspora. There is a proliferation of feminist studies on migrant women’s experiences, examining how they negotiate work and family after migration. However, there is limited research on African women diaspora’s gendered experiences and studying them demands African-specific theoretical tools. Current approaches are Eurocentric, use generic theoretical approaches and have viewed the women as passive subjects, formed, and constrained by external forces. This research is a phenomenological study that employs African Feminist Standpoint Theory to explore how the women redefine their cultural identities, and renegotiate their relationships within religious, social, and family spaces. Five group interviews and nine semi-structured interviews were conducted with Zimbabwean women, based in Reading, Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham, Coventry, and Wolverhampton. The study contributes to Gender and Migration studies, by demonstrating how gendered identities are defined and redefined in women’s everyday lives within spaces that have different cultural beliefs on gender and gender relations. Furthermore, the study contributes to African diaspora scholarship and demonstrates the contribution of a colonial legacy on African women in Britain, whose identities, cultures, and economic systems were shaped by colonialism, which reconstitute and reconstruct these identities within spaces of cultural intersection.
    Date of Award2 Jul 2020
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Edge Hill University
    SupervisorLEON CULBERTSON (Director of Studies) & ZANA VATHI (Supervisor)

    Keywords

    • migrant women
    • Belonging and identity
    • Diaspora
    • African feminism
    • Multiple belongings
    • transnational spaces
    • Zimbabwean women in Britain
    • gender and migration

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