W103
Belonging embodied, reciprocity materialised: migrants' transnational practices

Convenors:
Tatjana Pezdir (Faculty of Arts and Sciences)
Maja Povrzanovic Frykman (Malmö University)
Location:
R4
Start time:
28 August, 2008 at 9:00
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

This workshop explores the travel of people and objects from the perspectives of how belonging is embodied, reciprocity is materialised and social networks re-created in different locations within transnational spaces.

Long abstract:

The expansion of relatively cheap travel options and the enormous quantities of objects - mostly intended for everyday use - transported in overloaded cars, buses, ships and planes, plead for ethnographic descriptions and interpretations that outline relationships and processes embedded in transnational practices. This workshop explores the travel of people and objects, led by the interest in how belonging is embodied, reciprocity materialised and social networks re-created in different locations within the transnational spaces created by migrants. The focus is on practices through which migrants accomplish inclusion in different locations and in different networks. What do they do, send or carry in order to stay connected - to be accepted, remembered, needed or appreciated? Which objects do they consider crucial to the maintenance of their private everyday normality in different locations of attachment? To what extent is involvement in personal relations and social networks achieved or proved through objects, and to what extent does this require physical presence and personal travel? The theoretical intention is to avoid focusing on immigrants' ethnicity. While certainly not denying the reality of experiences of group belonging, our intention is rather to turn the importance of ethnicity into an empirical question. We also want to warn against the assumption that certain practices are only characteristic of migrants in conditions of disadvantage. Ethnographic insights into practices and lived experiences, motivations and concerns with regard to particular social networks, may reveal significant similarities between migrants of varying class and ethnic backgrounds.