P206
'Be-longing': ethnographic explorations of self and place

Convenors:
Lisa Åkesson (University of Gothenburg)
Elizabeth Challinor (CRIA/UM University of Minho)
Location:
Tower A, Piso 0, Room 5
Start time:
19 April, 2011 at 11:30
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

The aim is to explore the re-making of self and place through an analysis of the ambiguities of peoples' changing sense of ‘be-longing’: understood as the constant re-positioning of the self in accordance with memories of the past, engagements with the present and longings for the future.

Long abstract:

Ways of feeling the world are inseparable from the process of forging a sense of self in which memory plays a part. In the constant re-making of self and place, the past is drawn upon to make sense of the present and to look to the future. Place is also made through social interaction. People make places through listening to what kin and friends tell them about these places, and then re-make them into something they themselves belong to, at least in part. People belong to present, past and future places with varying degrees of commitment. In this respect, ‘be-longing’ can be understood as the constant re-positioning of the self in accordance with memories of the past, engagements with the present and longings for the future. This panel welcomes papers that explore the ambiguities of people's changing relations to self and place. What are the perceived potentials and limitations of different places and how do they impact upon people's sense of ‘be-longing’? How do the social relations of transnational families influence self-making projects? What kinds of stories are told about places 'at home' or in the Diaspora, and how are they appropriated by people's longings for the future? What are the roles of ‘imagined places’ or ‘virtual spaces’ in shaping people's daily lives? How is the past used to deal with the uncertainties of the future? What conflicting positions do the pursuits of physical, material and emotional well-being engender in the aspirations and strategies of self- and place-making?