Talking about home: immigrant narratives from the north-east of Scotland
Nicolas Le Bigre
(Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen)
Paper short abstract:
Immigrant narratives derived from field interviews reveal the breadth of interpretations of 'home'. This paper demonstrates the multiple characteristics of 'home', and aims for an inclusive theoretical analysis of immigrant narrative that brings together the voices of fieldworker and contributor.
Paper long abstract:
Immigrants, both recent and established, interpret and interact with the concept of 'home' in myriad ways. Indeed, the notion of 'home' is dynamic, and its meaning depends on time, geography, life experience, relationships, and current context, among other things. Basing my analysis on one-to-one interviews with immigrants in the north-east of Scotland, I will examine how contributors themselves view and shape concepts of 'home'. In listening to these interviews, it becomes clear that the idea of 'home' is multivalent. Different 'homes' co-exist and perform diverse and often symbiotic roles in everyday life. Some 'homes' may be may be place-rooted, such as birth-countries or ancestral homelands; for many immigrants 'homes' can be found in current geography; and for growing numbers of individuals who have lived in several different regions and countries, 'homes' may also include some of these 'in-between' locations. Further, when discussing the realities of work, family, and leisure, and the abstractions of memory and identity, 'home' might appear as layered memories, times, concepts, and even people. Most importantly, these narratives show that notions of 'home' do not exist in stasis but are ever-changing, depending on context and varying with an individual's needs and desires. By considering these notions of 'home', both in concept and in consciousness, I aim for an inclusive theoretical analysis of immigrant narrative that brings together the voices of fieldworker and contributor.
Imaginaries of home