EASA, 2010: EASA2010: Crisis and imagination

Maynooth, 24/08/2010 – 27/08/2010


Migration and materialities of home

Location JHT5
Date and Start Time 27 Aug, 2010 at 11:30


Hilje van der Horst (Wageningen University) email
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Long Abstract

This workshop addresses the intersections of material culture and migration in various practices of home-making. Home is never a stable status, but instead always 'in the making'. Attachments to places of residence and places of origin are expressed, but also created and sustained through disparate practices. Material culture and consumption play a vital role in many such home-making practices.

The papers in this workshop address topics such as the interior decoration of living places, everyday consumption practices, the representation of migrant identities in museums and material objects used in religious practices and rituals. In addition, the workshop addresses the role played by religion and education in they ways in which migrants and their descendants forge and sustain home-like attachments to countries of origin and countries of residence.

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.


Turkish immigrants in Vienna: a case study

Author: Siobhan Geets (University of Vienna)  email
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Long Abstract

According to the Report of Integration in Austria (2007-2009), immigrants with a Turkish background have the most difficulty integrating into Austrian society. When looking at the facts, "religion" is one of the main factors indicating difference.

According to the Report of Integration in Austria, non- secularised Muslims have the greatest difficulties when it comes to accepting the ethical values of their host country. So, the problem is not "The Muslims" or "The Turks", as some right-winged political parties and media suggest. The problem, as well as the solution, are much more complex.

The ambition of this paper is to show a differentiated view about the causes of this problem, namely that it is a matter of social questions and education. When parents exhibit a low level of education, their children often start with a massive disadvantage when it comes to their own education and the adoption of a new, often completely alien language (German) at the entrance into primary school.

The study involves interviews with employees and course participants at the Turkish association for integration I am working for in Vienna. Therefore it is a non-representative case study with the aim of providing an insight on the condition of schoolchildren and their parents.

Material worlds of Polish migrants in Belfast: displaced objects and negotiated identities

Author: Marta Kempny (Queen's University Belfast)  email
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Long Abstract

In this paper I will discuss how certain material objects covey a sense of belonging of Polish migrants in Belfast. Firstly I will explore the creation of so-called 'ethnicizing spaces' among the migrants, discussing how their Polishness is expressed in their everyday life practices and religious rituals. I will particularly pay attention to ethnic cuisine, interior décor of migrants' houses and material objects that are used in their religious practices and rituals. At the same time, referring to the concept of the 'dialogical self', I will explore the ways in which migrants construct other form of identities (such as cosmopolitans or representatives of their small homelands), showing how these identities may be exacerbated by the means of the material worlds that surround them. In relation to this, I will also point at multilayered aspect of migrants' belongings. The methods used in my paper are qualitative: in-depth interviews and participant observation.

"Out of water?" Material culture, migration and the positioning strategies of a group of adolescents in a neighbourhood of Lisbon

Authors: Marta Rosales (Instituto de Ciências Sociais)  email
Vanessa Cantinho de Jesus (Universiteit van Amsterdam)  email
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Long Abstract

Though contemporary material culture and migration studies constitute two of the most dynamic fields of study in present-day social sciences, its intersections need to be further explored. Resulting from an ethnography conducted in Lisbon with two groups of adolescents with a migrant background and a framework that elects everyday material culture and consumption practices as a significant field to the study of contemporary migration processes and experiences, this paper aims to contribute to the discussion of its analytical potentials. It will be argued that everyday consumption practices of food, music, or media and ordinary objects such as clothes, shoes, mobile phones or books play central parts in the processes of home making, evaluation, and reconfiguration that necessarily take part in all migrations and therefore should be addressed not only as an expression of those processes but also as a constitutive activity, i.e., the (re)production of identity and belonging.

Materialities of longing and loss: cherished items in the homes of Turkish-Dutch households

Author: Hilje van der Horst (Wageningen University)  email
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Long Abstract

This paper is based on a research focussing on Turkish-Dutch domestic interiors in the Netherlands and in Turkey. The fieldwork consisted of interviews and observation in 92 dwellings, and in more public settings, such as various commercial spaces, festivals and museums in both the Netherlands and Turkey.

In this paper, I argue that research on cherished items of migrants needs to take class differences into account. I discuss how narratives that Turkish-Dutch formed around things had or desired to have differed according to their level of education. A preference for newness and furniture bought as a 'set', was prominent in the decoration practices of lower educated interviewees. Their preference for newness and furniture sets was diametrically opposed to the more eclectic styles of higher educated households that were also more disposed to displaying valued objects with a long sense of history and the capacity to be connected to the biographies of their owners.

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.