Ethnographic exploration of the lived experiences of Algerian British immigrants in the UK

PhD Thesis

Benzai, S. 2022. Ethnographic exploration of the lived experiences of Algerian British immigrants in the UK. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University School of Law, Policing and Social Scineces
AuthorsBenzai, S.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameDoctor of Philosophy

The Algerian community in the United Kingdom is under-studied, and the existing studies have tackled it mainly within the refugee framework, which reflects the history of Algerian immigration to the UK. Adding to this existing scholarship, this research explores ethnographically the lived experiences of Algerian British individuals as dual nationals and the meaning they give to their dual national belonging. The present qualitative research occupies an academic interdisciplinary position and adds to the existing literature of migration studies, transnationalism, feminism, gender studies, and ethnography. The data generated in this thesis made use of the inductive approach of ethnography, immersion in fieldwork with research participants who are first generation Algerian British male and female adults, qualitative interviews, participant observation and fieldnotes.

To explore the objectives of this research, fieldwork was conducted in London in two main sites. One is a public space, of a ‘non-ordinary’ nature which was in the form of protest demonstrations or what has been called el-Hirak, where the participants were Algerian British, and the other site is a non-public space in ‘an ordinary’ circumstance, a form of social gatherings organised by Algerian British females. Using different techniques of recruiting, the sample size in this research was around 70, where the number of potential participants was 18. The findings of this research demonstrated that the lived experiences of dual nationals can be given meaning at different levels (politically, culturally and socially). These meanings were complex, ambivalent, and mostly characterised with research participants’ subjectivity, personal motives, gender, and socio-cultural backgrounds where their experiences were nested. Holders of dual citizenship undergo a series of criticisms as being a problematic category challenging the ideals of the nation-state, mainly in relation to loyalty, and their ability to simultaneously take part in the political affairs of two states. However, this PhD’s findings have shown Algerian British individuals were transnationally navigating without great difficulty membership of the two states, and the simultaneous membership was complementary at different levels.

KeywordsAlgerian British immigrants; Lived experiences; UK; Ethnographic exploration
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Deposited15 Nov 2022
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