Home, work and migration for Vietnamese people in East London
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis examines relationships between home, work and migration for Vietnamese people in East London. It contributes to a growing body of work within geographies of home, as well as furthering research on mobility and the city in super-diverse contexts. The study draws upon semi-structured interviews with participants who have migrated from Vietnam to East London under diverse circumstances, including individuals who arrived as refugees after the Vietnam War and other people who have migrated for work or education in recent years. The research has also involved visual methods and ethnography in participants’ homes, workplaces and other urban spaces. The study situates home as a multi-scalar, material and imaginative concept, set of practices and emotions. It also highlights the translocal connections between home, work and urban dwelling in Vietnam and East London. Drawing upon participants’ personal stories, I examine their journeys of migration and experiences of arrival in East London, framing the empirical material within concepts of navigation and urban learning. Alongside a recognition of the role of the city within migrant experiences of home, I argue that participants re-shape the city through their everyday mobilities and practices of dwelling. The thesis examines connections between home and work in Vietnam, drawing upon understandings of the Vietnamese home as a site of connection to other places and between living relatives, ancestors and the spirit world. I also consider relationships between home and work in East London, exploring how work may contribute to a sense of home in the city. I highlight the significance of objects, spiritual beliefs and practices in reconfiguring home across transnational space. This thesis also addresses participants’ future homes and possibilities of return to Vietnam. Individual choices of mobility and settlement are situated within geopolitical dimensions of home and migration. I draw upon concepts of precarity and the geopolitics of home to argue that immigration statuses, transient work and housing are intertwined with personal experiences of home and can present a significant barrier to belonging in the city. Through its focus on individual experiences and practices of home, work and urban life among Vietnamese people in East London, this research makes a distinctive contribution to understanding home, work, migration and the city.
- Theses