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Pragna Rugunanan

Vice-Dean of Research, Humanities Faculty
Name: Pragna Rugunanan
Location: C Ring 634 Auckland Park Kingsway Campus
Department of Sociology, Rated Researchers  Staff Members

Contact Details:
Tel: 011 559 4020


About Prof Pragna Rugunanan


Pragna Rugunanan is a Professor at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), and the Vice Dean of Research in the Humanities Faculty. In 2022, Prof Rugunanan was invited to the Canadian Excellence Research Chair in Migration and Integration at Toronto Metropolitan University as a Visiting Professor-CERC Migration Distinguished Scholar of Excellence from September to November 2022 to work jointly with the CERC team on Perspectives on Migration and Migrant Integration. Prof Rugunanan was also invited to the Expert Group Meeting on “Megatrends and Families: Focus on Digital Technologies, Migration and Urbanization” held 7-8 September 2022 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to give a presentation on Migration trends in Africa. She is a C2 rated scholar by the South African National Research Foundation, and specialises in the field of migration studies. Pragna’s research focusses on the construction of African and South Asian migrant communities to South Africa, and migration in the Global South. Her research interests include the sociology of migration, labour studies, changing patterns of work, gender and family, and the Higher Education landscape 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: Co-Edited Book

Rugunanan, P. and Xulu-Zama, N. (Eds). 2022. ‘Migration in Southern Africa’. Springer Press.

Accredited Journals:

Rugunanan, P. and Meyers, C. 2023. Transnational Family Practices among Zimbabwean Women Migrants in South Africa. South African Review of Sociology.

Rugunanan, P. and Meyers, C. 2023. Exploring Sweden and South Africa’s responses to mass migration during the period 2015-2019. The Thinker.

Mandewo J., Rugunanan, P. & Batisai, K. 2022. ‘The Temporality of Mothering through the use of ICTs by Zimbabwean Women Informal Cross-Border Traders’. Global Journal of Human Sciences, 22(4): 29–36.

Maake, TB, Rugunanan, P and Smuts, L. 2021. ‘Negotiating and Managing (Homo)Sexual Identities in Multiple Heteronormative Spaces: The Experiences of Black Homosexual Mineworkers’. Journal of Homosexuality.

Rugunanan, P. 2020. Guest Editor. Transnational Migration, Gender and Sexuality in the Global South. Gender Questions.

Rugunanan, P.2020. Migration, Mobility and Transnational Families: The Case of Indian Migrant Women to South Africa. Gender Questions. Gender Questions 8 (1):#6519.

Meyer, C and Rugunanan, P. 2020. “Mobile-Mediated Mothering from a Distance: A Case Study of Somali Women in Port Elizabeth, South Africa” International Journal of Cultural Studies. 23:656-673.

Rugunanan, P. 2017. ‘“Fitting In”: Social Cohesion among Migrant Indian Women and Host Diasporic Communities in South Africa’. Alternation, 24, 1:170-196.

Kriel, E. and Rugunanan, P. 2015. ‘Racial Integration among Students at the University of Johannesburg’. Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology, 6(1): 45-63.

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.

Rabe, M. and Rugunanan, P. 2012. ‘Exploring Gender and Race Amongst Female Sociologists Exiting Academia in South Africa’. Gender and Education, 24(5): 553-566.

Rabe, M. and Rugunanan, P. 2011. ‘Is there life after Sociology? Exploring the Career Paths of Former South African Academics in Sociology’. South African Review of Sociology, 42(3): 60-78.

Rugunanan, P. and Smit, R. 2011. ‘Seeking Refuge in South Africa: Challenges Facing a Group of Congolese and Burundian Refugees’. Development Southern Africa, 28(5): 705-718.

Book Chapters

Rugunanan, P. 2022. Migrating Beyond Borders and States: Instrumental and Contingent Solidarities Among Informal South Asian Migrant Workers in South Africa. In Rugunanan, P. and Xulu-Gama, N. (Eds.). Migration in Southern Africa. Springer Press.

Chiyangwa, B. and Rugunanan, P. 2022. Experiences of Mozambican Migrant Children in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga South Africa. In Rugunanan, P. and Xulu-Gama, N. (Eds.). Migration in Southern Africa. Springer Press. R

ugunanan, P & Hoffman, S. 2020. ‘Education’. In Sociology: A South African Introduction. Edited by Stewart, P. and Johan Z. Johannesburg: Juta: ISBN: 9780702188787.

Rugunanan, P. 2020. “Africa must be … one place, one country”: Xenophobia and the unmediated representation of African Migrants in the South African Media. In Reporting Xenophobia and Migration in the Media in Africa. Edited by Moyo, D & Mpofu, S. Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan: ISBN 978-3-030-61235-1;

Rugunanan, P. 2019. ‘Valuing/Belonging and Devaluing/Unbelonging in the Academy: An Intersectional Perspective’. In Black Academic Voices: The South African Experience. Edited by Khunou, G. Canham, K. Khoza-Shangase and E. Phaswana. Johannesburg: 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 by Jinnah, Z. and Hiralal, K. New York: Palgrave Macmillan ISBN 978-3-319-65783-7.

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. ]. ISBN: 978-1-137-58890-6; pgs 137-166.

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. Delhi: Serial Publications: ISBN: 978-81-933190-3-1; pgs 52-84.

Rugunanan, P. 2014. ‘Education’. In Sociology: A South African Introduction. Edited by Stewart, P. and Johan Z. Johannesburg: Juta: ISBN: 9780702188787.

Rugunanan, P., Seedat-Khan, M. and Smuts, L. 2012. ‘A Sense of South African Indianness: Citizenship, Identity and Experiences of Exclusion at the Oriental Plaza in Johannesburg, South Africa.’ In Exclusion, Social Capital and Citizenship: Contested Transitions in South Africa and India. Edited by Uys, T. and Patel, S. New Delhi, India: Orient Black Swan.

Bolsman, C., Rugunanan, P. and Routledge, M. 2001. ‘History of Organisational Behaviour.’ In Transforming Organisational Behaviour – New Models and Methods for Southern Africa. Edited by Moerdyk, A. and van Aardt, C. South Africa: New Africa Books. ISBN: 1869283678.