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Visits to the country of origin: how second‐generation British Pakistanis shape transnational identity and maintain power asymmetries

Global Networks

Published online on


In this article, I identify the need for more nuanced approaches to transnational emotional attachment, especially with regard to the second generation. Interviewing second‐generation British Pakistanis while on their holidays in Pakistan and comparing the findings with data collected in the UK provides a more realistic exploration of the phenomenon than would have been possible with only narratives collected before and after the trips. In contrast to current utopian views of egalitarian transnationalism negotiated at a personal level, known in the literature as transnationalism from below, I argue that the visits of second‐generation British Pakistanis perpetuate global power asymmetries. Furthermore, such visits may help British Pakistanis redefine their identity in relation to Pakistan, the UK and Islam, thus contributing to the formation of a new transnational identity. In the conclusion, I suggest that leisure visits can still carry the potential for important political and economic relations for Pakistan in times of need.