Research on transnationalism is predominantly focused on well-established labor and family migrant communities. The question whether the transnationalism of these types of migrants differs significantly from those of asylum migrants has not received an unequivocal answer. We have studied the importance of the flight motive for the transnationalism of Burundian asylum seekers in the Netherlands. Transnational contacts and identification are not self-evident for the 18 Burundians questioned in our case study; they do not develop automatically with and via countrymen; and they take on a different form in the destination countries of the Netherlands and Belgium. These findings are inextricably connected to the ethnic and political conflicts that have induced respondents’ flight from Burundi. Hence, our study not only demonstrates that migration motives do indeed play an important role in relation to transnationalism, but also that the study of asylum migrants is an essential complement to the prevailing research on transnationalism of settled labor and family migrant communities.

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Working Paper Series on Sociology
Department of Sociology

Mascini, P., Fermin, A. M. E., & Snick, H. (2009). Burundese asielzoekers in Nederland: een strategische casestudy naar transnationalisme. Working Paper Series on Sociology. Retrieved from