Transnational Social Fields of Ethiopian Migrants in Turkey
Musa, Mohammed Ali
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Using the lens of transnational social fields of migration, this thesis examines and scrutinizes motivations, adaptations, transnational practices, and the lived experiences of Ethiopian migrants in Turkey and returnees in Ethiopia. The present day Ethiopian migration to Turkey is intricately associated with the broader domains of transnationalism such as economic, social, cultural, political fields, as well as historical processes in which Ethiopian migrants engaged in their daily activities. The thesis empirically and theoretically examines a fundamental and salient research question: how do Ethiopians, as individuals and group, perceive, act, and interact in the transnational social fields (most often unequally distributed) while living in Turkey and after returning home? The thesis is carried out based on the existing knowledge of socio-cultural anthropology of migration, multi-sited ethnographic research and qualitative approach. Tools such as participant observation and a variety of interviews were employed to collect data from a group of Ethiopian educatıon and labor migrants living in Turkey (Ankara and Istanbul) and returnees in Ethiopia (Addis Ababa). The research findings reveal that Ethiopians in Turkey maintained two ways of connection: adaptation/integration to the Turkish society and transnational attachment to homeland but with different level of adaptation, and transnational experiences & practices. The social fields in which Ethiopians engaged in transnational practices, the fields that they constructed, reconstructed, and maintained between host and home countries are unequally distributed as they do not have the same experiences, capacity, skills, opportunities, and legality to play. As Ethiopians moved to Turkey with varying motivations and aims, they did so return home with varying motivations, transnational experiences and capital. Returnees, adding new ones, maintained transnational practices that they created while living in Turkey, and with the capital and experiences they accumulated in Turkey and brought with them, they acted as agents of social change in their homeland.