Urban Migrants : A Focus on their Social Networks and Vulnerability Dynamics : The case of Eastern Cape Migrants in Port Elizabeth & Cape Town, South Africa

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Rural-to-urban migration is a common-known feature of the South African „socioscape‟. Mainly as a result of the deagrarianization of the countryside and the (perceived) greater chances on the urban job market, many young, black South Africans (have) decide(d) to move from villages to cities. This migratory movement has its implications for the vulnerability position of this so-called „urban migrant‟. The „new life‟ as a city dweller does often not imply an increase of social security or quality of life in general. In the literature, it suggested that social networks are contemporary crucial facilitators of (successful) rural-urban movements and important supporters for both livelihoods of family members in the countryside as well as for the urban migrant‟s livelihood in the city. The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the role and „relative weight‟ of these (alleged) social networks, by conducting multisited ethnographic research in the villages Guquka and Koloni (Eastern Cape Province, South Africa) and the cities Port Elizabeth (ibid.) and Cape Town (Western Cape Province, South Africa), from an actor-oriented perspective. In concreto, the following research question functions as a guide-line through this thesis: How do socio-economic ties, between the urban migrant in Cape Town and his rural social contacts in Guquka and Koloni, influence the urban migrant‟s vulnerability?
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