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Prof Pragna Rugunanan

Pragna Rugunanan
Prof Pragna Rugunanan
Department of Sociology
(HOD) Associate Professor

Contact Details
CRing 634
+27 (0)11 559 4020
Auckland Park Kingsway Campus

For full CV please click here P RUGUNANAN.pdf


Pragna Rugunanan is an academic at the University of Johannesburg. Her doctorate focused on the construction of migrant communities among African and South Asian communities in South Africa. Her research interests include the Sociology of migration and labour studies; changing patterns of work, social networks, and community studies. She has published on migration, gender, xenophobia, education and citizenship. She is a current recipient of a NIHSS Brics Mobility Grant and is a NRF Thuthuka grant holder in the post-PHD track. In 2016 she received the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Human Development research grant. In 2012-2014, she was an NRF Thuthuka grant holder. Pragna has served on the executive of the South African Sociological Association, was a council member and is currently a working group convener. During her break from academia, she was involved in training and consulting for various manufacturing concerns under the MERSETA and for the Airports Company of South Africa, conducting large scale quantitative surveys. She was also the founding member and director of a research agency. Upon her return to academia, she has been involved in NRF funded research projects on Family, Well-Being and Resilience; Social Capital and Citizenship; Refugee and Migration projects. Her current research project focuses on 'Migration, identities and trans-continental linkages: Studying the Indian diaspora in South Africa'. 


D Litt et Phil, University of Johannesburg
MA Industrial Sociology (cum laude) University of Pretoria
B Soc Science Hons. Industrial Sociology, Rhodes University
B Soc Sci., Rhodes University

Research Interests
  • Migration Studies
  • Sociology of Work and Labour Studies
  • Family and Well-Being
  • Gender and Education Studies 

Selected Publications:

Rugunanan, P. 2019. ‘Valuing/Belonging and Devaluing/Unbelonging in the Academy: An Intersectional Perspective’. In Biographies of Belonging and Exclusion in the South African Academy. Edited by Khunou, G. Canham, K. Khoza-Shangase and E. Phaswana. Pretoria: HSRC Press.

Rugunanan, P. and Smit, R. 2018. ‘Migration, Mobilities and Families: Comparative Views among Congolese, Burundian and Zimbabwean Female Refugees.’ In Borders, Bodies and Boundaries: Exploring Gender and Migration in Historical and Contemporary Africa. Edited Hiralal, K. and Jinnah, Z. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Rugunanan, P. 2017. ‘“Fitting In”: Social Cohesion among Migrant Indian Women and Host Diasporic Communities in South Africa’. Alternation Special Edition. 

Jinnah, Z. and Rugunanan, P. 2017. ‘Remaking Religion, Rethinking Space: How Migrants Are Transforming Ethnically Bounded Notions of Religion and Perceptions of Urban Space In Johannesburg.’ In Routes and Rites to the City: Mobility, Diversity and Religious Space in Johannesburg. Edited by Willhelm-Solomon, M., Lunez, L., Bukasa, P.K. and Malcomess, B. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 

Rugunanan, P. 2016. ‘Migrant Communities, Identity, and Belonging: Exploring the Views of South Asian Migrants in Fordsburg, South Africa’. In Contemporary Issues in the Indian Diaspora of South Africa. Edited by Kumar, P.P. Serial Publications: Delhi.

Smit, R. and Rugunanan, P. 2015. ‘Transnational Forced Migration and Negotiating Emotions: The Case of Female Refugees in South Africa’. Social Dynamics, 41(1): 184-203.

Smit, R. and Rugunanan, P. 2014. ‘From Precarious Lives to Precarious Work: The Dilemma Facing Refugees in South Africa’. South African Review of Sociology, 45(2): 4-26.

Rugunanan, P, 2014. Education. Sociology: A South African introduction. Stewart, P. and Johan Z. (editors). Juta: Johannesburg. ISBN: 9780702188787