Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Kathryn A. Kozaitis - Chair


Immigrants live transnational lives when they maintain transborder social ties, participate simultaneously in multi-local social relations, and engage in self-transforming identity negotiations that also impact their host societies and their communities of origin. Their social organizations manifest identity construction as agency, with their objectives reflecting particular culture production activities. This native ethnography of Atlanta’s sub-Saharan African immigrants combines 115 surveys of the general population, and 13 in-depth interviews of their organization leaders and members, to examine the potential problem solving instrumentality of social organizations. Study results show that organizational objectives do not reflect top community problems, but prioritize projects that confirm immigrant transnational lives. The organizations’ early potential for engineering non-tribal nationalism within the specific countries and the continent is a surprising finding. African philosophy is evoked to illuminate the relevance of pre-migratory identities and socialization as a possible homogenizer, but also a source of friction for immigrant integration.


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Anthropology Commons