Narratives of Identity, Multi-Sited Biographies, and Transnational Life-Modes of Highly Qualified Migrants. Senegambia Migrants in Switzerland and Swiss Migrants in Senegambia

Project Outline 

The aim of the project is to understand how or to what extent tensions emerging between different aspects of globalization shape the experiences and activities of highly skilled/qualified migrants. The phenomenon of highly skilled migration is a significant part of today’s globalization. The movement creates the necessity for theses actors to negotiate relationships across and within localities. Through their historically differently constituted life experiences both groups construct and reconstruct individual biographies away from the traditional setting of the nation-state through a constant negotiation of their allegiances and social belonging. Theirs are biographies “on the move” shaped by forms of transnationalism that are experienced differently. Drawing from their personal accounts and biographies this study seek to enhance the understanding of life experiences and their transnational/local activities with a view to yielding insights that may be useful in understanding the web of social relationships which make up transnationalism. With African migrants being considered key actors contributing towards the development of their countries of origin through remittances, parts of this study will further explore how migrants take the decision to remit, for example, or stay away from their countries of origin in the face of accusations of brain-drain-waste. Funded by the Swiss National Fund (SNF).

This project entails two case studies:
1.Swiss in Israel and Israelis in Switzerland (Hélène Oberlé)
2.Swiss in Senegambia and Senegambians in Switzerland

Supervisor: Elisio Macamo
Co-supervisor: Jacques Picard
External Supervisors: Dr.Ibrahim Dia (University of Geneva), Wendy Wilson-Fall (Lafayette College)


Khadeeja “Haddy” Sarr is a PhD candidate currently working on her thesis with Centre for African Studies and Institute of Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology at Basel University. She was born and raised in Sweden with parents originating from the Gambia.  She completed her Master’s degree (MSc) at Brunel University in the UK.  Her master’s thesis focused on cultural identity and sense of belonging amongst second-generation individuals residing in the UK, Sweden and the USA. In 2012, she was awarded the start up DONOS (Doctoral North and South Programme). Ms. Sarr has worked on numerous projects relating to migration matters and worked in Gambia, Senegal, and the United States.  In 2009, she and 7 other United Nations Volunteers were presented the UNV award for their research project “Young People We care” focusing on youth migration in sub-Saharan Africa. She is fluent in Swedish, English and Wolof. In 2016, Ms. Sarr was quoted in several articles covering the topic of African Migration in Europe, including the International Business times in New York and WOZ Die Wochenzeitung in Switzerland.

Portrait Sarr Haddy

Khadeeja Haddy Sarr
Centre for African Studies Basel
Rheinsprung 21
4051 Basel

Tel: +46735681618