The paper, drawing on narrative analysis of qualitative research with Irish highly qualified migrants in Britain, examines the processes of friendship-making in contexts of mobility. In so doing, I consider what stories of making new friends in new places, reveal about interconnections between selection opportunities but also obstacles, as well as the role of preferences and shared interests. My work contributes to the recent resurgence of interest in place by exploring the salience of proximate, situated, local relationships as sources of emotional support and sociality, even among migrant professionals. Adopting a focus on friendship-making, I seek to go beyond a narrow notion of homophily—defined by an ethnic lens—to understand how migrants draw upon different aspects of identities to forge links and build relationships with a diverse range of people. The paper lies at the nexus of related but distinct bodies of literature—migration, social network analysis and friendship—to explore where, how, why and with who migrants form new friendship networks. I suggest that by connecting these approaches there is potential not only to develop a more thorough understanding of sociality in mobility but also to overcome some gaps within each of these approaches.
Source: Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, first published online 11 Mar 2015