The problem this dissertation engages with is the role of state-defined pathways available for ‘legal’ Caribbean migrants to South Africa, to effectively become South African citizens through practices of assimilation; enabling them to claim citizenship, and thus belonging to a new national community. The concept of a singular, state-defined citizen, a conception that has dominated academic debates over the last hundreds of years, is today challenged by the activities and presence of migrants from everywhere in nearly every place. This new and contemporary dynamic is prompting scholars to conceptualise other images of belonging, images that transcend, move beyond, stretch and displace the centrality of national borders in defining citizenship. One view shifts the source of citizenship rights from the state to the individual, bringing to the fore a cosmopolitan or post-national citizenship. Conversations concerning the significance, or lack thereof, of the state in migration share a tendency to analyse migration from the macro-level that the state represents and interpret individual actions and outcomes from that point of view. In this dissertation I address the problem by investigating the lived experiences of immigrants, and analysing from the micro-level of individuals and their families, in order to understand their relationship to the meso- and macro-levels available within the wider society. In the process, I illuminate the pathways that are available to ‘legal’ Caribbean migrants as they seek to deepen their belonging to a new national community whilst retaining their connections to other national and transnational communities.
Dissertation (MSocSci)--University of Pretoria, 2019.