Research Interests

My research interests in the dynamics of migration and transnationalism, in both emigration and immigration contexts, has translated into research in five more specific areas: Interactions of migrant transnationalism and integration; Remittances, migration and development; Return mobilities; Citizenship, nation and diversity; Migration and religion.

Interactions of migrant transnationalism and integration

Migrants’ often sustain ties with people and places in countries of origin, while simultaneously adjusting to life in countries of settlement – in what might be described as ‘balancing acts’. I am interested in the practical ways in which individuals and families make choices about priorities, manage dilemmas, and mobilize synergies which emanate from connections across two or more countries.

Remittances, migration and development

Migrant remittances are one crucial way in which migration connects with development, broadly, and in particular for remittance-receiving households. I have explored migrants’ development engagements in different organizational forms with funding from varying sources. I have found that Islamic charity, as one such source, in part overlaps with migrants’ development engagements as well as with remittances.

Return mobilities

Return mobilities – hoped for or feared, planned or realized – shed light on central questions in migration studies. For instance, the idea of a future return is a crucial part of migrants’ identity work for decades following migration, whether or not return is ever realized. If realized, return migration is often every bit as complicated as migration was in the first place, in legal and bureaucratic terms, but also socially and in terms of belonging.

Belonging, citizenship and diversity

Issues of belonging and citizenship in European and Asian contexts are often similar, focusing on demarcations between ‘us’ and ‘them’. This relates to questions of social cohesion and coming to terms with diversity within nations, when homogenizing narratives often prevail. It is perhaps the most evident in relation to the granting of citizenship, naturalization requirements, loss of citizenship, and in perspectives on dual citizenship.

Migration and religion

I zoom in on everyday religiosity to understand how individuals make sense of their faith, as migrants (or descendants). I find intersections with their transnational practices and their integration processes; one such example is migrants’ transnational Islamic charity. Another is how in a diverse Catholic church context, ethno-national boundaries are found to be both upheld – and simultaneously transgressed – producing unity within diversity in everyday encounters, banal conviviality and complexity.