On the Move – from Kingston to Montreal: Understanding the Diverse Social Field of Jamaicans Migrating to Montréal

By looking at the different motion stages and sequences that immigrants perform during their migratory process my research aims to understand migration patterns based on the life experiences of people. Through participant observation, multi-sited ethnography and a network analysis that takes social, historical and globalizing factors into account my research focus lies on finding an ethnological elaboration of the phenomenon of Jamaicans migrating from Kingston to Montréal.

While historically Jamaican migrants mainly populated the Anglophone metropolitan areas, Montréal/Québec has seemingly become a target of their migratory movements in recent years. Research issues that arise regarding the social, political and demographic implications of this observation are for example:

  • How do the dynamic transnational migration activities of Jamaicans moving from Kingston influence and diversify the local setting in Montréal?
  • How are linkages maintained, renewed, reconstituted in the context of e.g. families? Which role do migrants play at home?

The simultaneous encountering of the Jamaican and the Québécois environment creates a transnational social field wherein my major research interest lies. Here I seek to analyze the social connections within the movement activities, i.e. the “social links and relations” of migrants to understand how they accomplish the balancing act between a new and an old home country. With ongoing globalization and medialization processes in mind social activities, interactions and practices of migrants i.e. on social media platforms are the link to transnational mediation and translation processes between diverse social spaces. Relationship networks exist across national and geographical borders and become visible – the communication networks are the key to the analysis of motion patterns and thus integral to the understanding of transnational migration processes.