SIEF2011 10th Congress: Lisbon, Portugal.
17-21 April 2011
Leisure experience of migrants: shaping free time, shaping identities
Location Tower A, Piso 1, Room 104
Date and Start Time 19 Apr, 2011 at 11:30
Leisure activities bring sense to migrants' lives. The materiality of migrants' leisure, its emotional dimension, and spatial and temporal framework; cultural narratives of migrants' leisure; memory and imagination, expert knowledge and social networks in migrants' leisure are to be considered.
Migrants are frequently perceived through the conceptual lens of their migratory mobility and work-related activities. We would like to draw attention to another important dimension of migrants' lives: their leisure activities.
Leisure activities are contemporarily the domain of intensive identity work (cf. Rojek 2009). On the one hand, the increasing lack of control over work results in the search for meaning and control over one's life in non-work-related activities. On the other hand, the professionalization of many dimensions of life results in the perceived need to be a ‘specialist’ even in domains where previously the concepts of expert knowledge were inapplicable (e.g. child care, pet care etc).
Leisure (e.g. leisure travel, gastronomy and other forms of consumption, hobbies, socializing etc) becomes crucial for the ways in which migrants render their changing worlds meaningful. It might also be the sphere in which they can build a sense of being in control of their lives.
We would like to address such issues as materiality of leisure experience; the emotional dimension of leisure experience; the spatial and temporal framework of migrants' leisure activities; the role of cultural narratives of sending and receiving societies in migrants’ choices of leisure activities; the role of memory and imagination in selecting the activities; the role of social networks in the choice of leisure activities; the conceptualizations of the collisions between work and leisure; the ways of narrating and sharing leisure experience; and the role and sources of expert knowledge in leisure activities.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
'We need to enjoy ourselves, it can't be just work': festive gatherings as community-enacting events of irregular Andean migrants in the US
Xarbán is a small village in Ecuador. Many of its villagers have migrated to New York City where they are not legal residents. In this context of precarious legal presence, Xarbán migrants in NYC orient their leisure activities towards their place of origin.
Xarbán is a small village in the Southern Ecuadorian Andes. For over two decades many Xarbán villagers have migrated to the US in dangerous crossings over the Mexico-US border. These migrants are spatially concentrated in the borough of Queens, in New York City. Most of them do not hold legal residency in the US, and are unlikely to ever obtain it. This legal status prevents them from physically returning to Ecuador unless they are willing to pay again the high smuggling fees and endure a second dangerous journey back to the US. In this context of precarious legal presence in the US most of these migrants are Xarbán-oriented, what includes their leisure activities. Festive rituals in the US, both religious and life-course ones, are crucial to create gathering spaces where the idea of a shared community is nurtured. Frequent fiestas and gatherings take place in Queens where these migrants re-enact their original Xarbán membership. In these gatherings 'food from home' plays a very important role. These Xarbán-migrants-only festive events imbue with meaning the lives of these migrants who are otherwise too centred on finding and keeping a job which will allow them to earn, save and send money back to Ecuador. These events then counterbalance the centrality of work and saving money in the lives of irregular Xarbán migrants in Queens.
The uses of pétanque in New York City
Invented in the early XXth century in the south of France, pétanque is practiced in the streets of New York City since the 1970s. This paper presents the differents motivations of players of highly different origins (French people with dual nationality, expatriates - « expats », French speaking African, "American"), driven by specific goals and imagination.
Petanque is an emblematic bowl game of Provence, invented in early XXth century in the south of France by the « longue » players, who decided to stay ped tanco (which means « fixed feet » in provençal language), hence the word pétanque. More accessible, this variant of the traditional game was an immediate success. In 2008, 81 national federations were bringing 566 734 licensed people together all over the world (the half being french). In several decades, the success of Petanque widely crossed the European and Mediterranean borders and is now an international phenomenon. Contrary to the first sight, made of jokes and derision as a strong art of living, found in « mythical » writings, songs and movies, petanque (as well as all sports and games) is an extremely serious social practice. This Mediterranean art of living and its gaming rules were spread in the same time, as shown by the Bastille Day Tournament organized in numerous American towns, especially in New York, where some streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan are turned into meridional areas, fragrant with « merguez » sausages, and supplied with pastis and rosé wine (tons of sand are dumped for this occasion). This paper presents the differents motivations of players of highly different origins (French people with dual nationality, expatriates - « expats », French speaking African, "American"), driven by specific goals and imagination.
Performing Portugueseness, constructing communities: the role of football among Portuguese emigrants
The paper presents results of the international research project Diasbola which analysed the role of football among Portuguese emigrants in eight diasporic settings, at referring to rural and urban locales in Germany with comparative references to Maputo, London, France, New England and Canada.
The narrative and consumption of Portuguese Football is one of the most visible elements of popular and everyday-life culture among Portuguese emigrants and their offspring in diasporic settings. "Portuguese places" which serve as meetings points abroad, such as bars, restaurants and associations are decorated with the icons of Portuguese Football, and are most frequented at the occasion of internationally aired matches of Portuguese teams or the national squad. Together with active football, organised by Portuguese at amateur level as a recreational and leisure activity, football identification, fandom and consumption (also via new information and communication technologies) provide a connection among globally dispersed Portuguese and to people and places left behind, a space for performances of national belonging and common leisure activities. It also serves as a tool for minority politics, adaptive and economic ends, and contributes to the construction of Portuguese ethnicity in migratory contexts. The paper provides insights into the findings of the international research project Diasbola which analysed the role of football among Portuguese emigrants and luso-descendents in eight diasporic settings, at referring especially to rural and urban locales in Germany with comparative references to Maputo, London, France, New England and Canada. Deriving from ethnographic material, results confirm the importance of football in shaping leisure and identity constructions in Portuguese diaspora and highlight some particularities: While football in its social formation and its possible functions are shaped by each particular diasporic context, it also provides dynamics which shape such contexts and conditions.
The intercultural garden: a tool to build belonging
This paper examines the instrument of the intercultural garden as a tool for the facilitation of integration, for the sharing of experiences, for the construction of common identity. The intercultural gardens are places where it is possible to gain a small part of your own house in a new homeland.
The city, even in the new planning, keeps into itself several problems, among which some are related to a distance between the real needs of citizens and planning. This detachment usually leads to a sense of non identification with places, with the clear consequence of degradation and insecurity.
Nevertheless, in the contemporary city, there still exists a space between universal and particular, open to the transformation processes, in which the subject, individual and collective, can practice positive actions of appropriation. Niches continuously produced by the evolutionary process of the city exist, spaces not codified into the global market. These interstitial spaces naturally accommodate the diversity offering themselves as spaces of the possibility, places of mediation in the construction of the citizenship processes.
This paper examines the instrument of the intercultural garden as a tool for the facilitation of integration, for the sharing of experiences, for the construction of common identity and belonging. The intercultural gardens are places where it is possible to gain a small part of your own house in a new homeland. Places where you can work on a common ground and gather together during the year the fruits of collaboration.
Through the analysis of symbolic examples, as the Community Gardens of Lower East Side in Manhattan, the Interkulturelle Gärten in Berlin and Les Jardins portagés in Paris, the paper will focus on which are the physical transformations on space that represent positive acts of spatial reappropriation capable of establishing a sense of community, sharing and integration.
Between electoral tourism and tourism 'at home': leisure practices among the Bulgarian-born Turks, settlers in Turkey
Vacations 'at home', as well as the so called 'electoral' tourism in the country of origin of the Bulgarian-born Turks, settlers in Turkey, are discussed in regard with the processes of social adaptation and the public images of this group of immigrants in both the Bulgarian and Turkish societies.
The paper describes some of the most wide-spread leisure practices among Bulgarian-born Turks, settlers in Turkey. These include various forms of vacations in the settlement of origin, as well as the country of origin. Special attention is given to the so-called electoral tourists: migrants who return massively to their home places when various kinds of elections - for local governments, parliamentary or presidential - take place in Bulgaria. The phenomenon is very typical for this particular group of immigrants and is the issue of heated public debates in the country of origin, regarding their political and national loyalties and identities. The paper seeks to describe this type of 'tourism', as well as other popular leisure practices oriented to the country of origin in their complexity. The relationship will be sought between the outlined leisure activities and 1) the economic and social integration of these first-generation migrants in the receiving Turkish society; 2) the emergence and sustainability of their public image among the wider public in both the receiving and sending societies.
Meanings and functions of leisure time activities for retirement migrants in Spain
Lifestyle migration and similar forms of privileged mobilities such as retirement migration are an increasing phenomenon worldwide challenging previous conceptions of migration. Compared to other forms of migration, leisure time and recreational activities play a crucial role for the social actors involved, as a case study from Spain will show.
Migration to a foreign country with a perceived higher quality of life has become a widespread retirement strategy among affluent elderly people worldwide. In Europe, Spain is the most important retirement destination with an estimated number of more than one million leisure-oriented migrants from Northern European countries being drawn to its coastlines by the prospect of permanent sunshine, lower costs of living and an active and healthy everyday life. Seen as a self-realization project linked to individualisation, wealth and mobility, retirement migration reveals changing attitudes towards ageing, individuality and lifestyle choices in postmodern capitalist societies. For most retirement migrants moving abroad implies a twofold rupture, since previous work related activities as well as social networks are left behind in the country of origin. Therefore, new forms of everyday activities must be pursued to fill up the new amount of leisure time. What specific functions do leisure time activities have in this particular new life-context characterized by ageing, the social reality of retirement and a new social and cultural environment? And which activities are chosen for what purpose? The paper will present first qualitative results from ethnographic fieldwork on the Costa Blanca, as well as quantitative results from a large-scale study conducted in 2010 by the Spanish National Research Council on retirement migration to Spain.
Ladies' luncheons or career in a suitcase? Concepts of expatriates' accompanying spouses' occupations between work and leisure
This paper explores concepts of Expatriates' spouses' occupations based on a narrative analysis of biographical interviews. It gives an overview of womens' (narrative) strategies of dealing with their role of being "in tow" and the conditions in which they act and tell their stories.
This paper explores concepts of transnational professionals' accompanying spouses' occupations based on a narrative analysis of biographical interviews with women who are temporarily in Austria. The sample consits of mostly academically educated women who have no work permit and/or haven't been automatically found a job by their partner's company.
The paper takes a look at how the women talk about the quest to develop their own occupation while their partner pursues his career path. The narrative description of these occupations ranges somewhere between the poles of "hobby" or "career". Despite, or even because of, the lack of a financial need to work the women's narratives speak of a certain pressure to occupy themselves meaningfully.
The women's own and their environment's ideas of a "good biography" play a role in judging these efforts: Often activities such as volunteering in local organisations are seen as not career-related although they take up a lot of time and are experienced as fulfilling by the women. Even with time and money on hand to pursue an interest or a talent there seems to be a call for a certain seriousness of approach to make it a meaningful occupation. Developing a "career in a suitcase" that can be picked up and practiced profitably everywhere in the world appears to be a symbol of successfully occupying oneself as an accompanying spouse. This paper wants to further explore the conditions in which these women act and tell their stories.
'I am a very different immigrant!' Cultural consumption, creative practices and identity management between Portuguese young adults living in Amsterdam
This paper will draw attention to some of the leisure habits of Portuguese young adults living in Amsterdam, specially the ones related to cultural consumption and production practices, in order to explore their importance to the processes of identity management and construction of meaning in the migration context.
Although the Portuguese migration is not a new phenomenon, recently there is an original flow that stands in relation to previous migration patterns. While these were largely determined by economic constraints, today we are witnessing a parallel movement characterized by societal symbologies that tend to privilege motivations more related to personal achievement and the desire for unique and diverse experiences.There is a considerable amount of Portuguese young adults, middle class and middle to upper education, presently living in European capitals like London, Amsterdam, Barcelona or Berlin and guiding their experiences in these cities from cosmologies related to certain cultures of consumption and, at the same time rejecting stereotyped ways of being a
"Portuguese immigrant". What are the special features of such cultures? What kind of sociability is created through the same? Why do these individuals choose to regulate their world and define their identity in relation to these, instead of a more "traditional", ethnic oriented way?
From the analysis of the relations of some of these young people with the material world, at the level of consumption and cultural production, we intend to seek answers to these questions and try and perceive how these relationships can lead to an understanding of the logic behind their belonging managements. For this we will draw on the findings of an ethnography conducted in Amsterdam, where leisure was the primary source of research.
Leisure and locality: the role of leisure in creating a sense of locality among Polish labour migrants to the Netherlands
The lives of many labour migrants are characterised as precarious, and as a permanent state of temporariness. This paper looks at the lives of Polish labour migrants to the Netherlands to investigate how a sense of locality is produced or achieved, in particular through leisure pursuits.
In modern society mobility has become a permanent condition. Attachment to and familiarity with places has ceased to be self-evident. This becomes apparent through the organisation of labour migrants' lives, which are often characterised by temporary housing and temporary jobs. On the other hand, it is too simplistic to suggest that these translocalities are non-places with very limited context-producing capabilities. It is my contention that people have a natural tendency to develop attachments to material objects and spaces. Leisure can play an important role in developing these attachments, transforming the translocality into a locality. It is my assumption that leisure activities carry a lot of potential in acquiring familiarity with and a sense of locality, perhaps even providing labour migrants with a sense of home. Leisure pursuits -being an area of people's live over which they can exert control- afford people an opportunity to conceptualise their temporariness as a meaningful and intimate experience. The paper will look into the realization of the potential of leisure activities as well as explore the limits and limitations of leisure activities.
Leisure mobilities versus labour mobilities
Migrants are frequently viewed through their labour activities. The aim of this paper is to analyse leisure mobility of migrants in order to demonstrate that tourism and travel not related to work influence migrants' identities.
Migrants are frequently viewed through their labour activities. Their mobility is circumscribed to family and labour related activities. However, they also travel for pleasure, be it visits back home or one-day travel to another town. The aim of this paper is to analyse leisure mobility of Polish migrants to West Midlands, UK. The leisure mobility patterns would differ among various groups of migrants, some of them would have very little time for leisure and leisure travel would remain in the domain of the imaginary. Yet, I aim at demonstrating that tourism and travel not related to work influence migrants' identities and constitute important sphere for shaping their daily lives and lifestyles.
Leisure is not pleasure but... it is not hard work either
Polish economic migrants discourses were shaped by a dominant narrative of hard work and a necessity of constant saving. The new post-enlargement wave of migrants created a new kind of a dominant narrative based on a notion of a normal life, when element of pleasure is part and parcel of everyday behaviour and it is not perceive as luxury or indulgence.
There is a significant difference between the previous waves of Polish migrants and the massive outflow of people from Poland after the EU expansion. So far, Polish economic migrants discourses were shaped by a dominant narrative of hard work and a necessity of constant saving. The new post-enlargement wave of migrants created a new kind of a dominant narrative based on a notion of a normal life, when element of pleasure is part and parcel of everyday behaviour and it is not perceive as luxury or indulgence.
The data come from entries on an internet forum triggered by newspaper reports and articles in the on-line version of 'Gazeta Wyborcza' between 2004 and 2009. Anchoring the study in narrative and discourse analyses, I shall investigate topics of pleasure and lines of argumentation of forum participants.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.