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SIEF2013 11th Congress: Tartu, Estonia.
30 June - 4 July, 2013

SIEF2013: Circulation

Tartu, Estonia; 30th June - 4th July

(P55)

Mobilities and marginalities

Location Lossi 3, 425
Date and Start Time 02 July, 2013 at 10:30

Convenors

Katrín Anna Lund (University of Iceland) email
Patrick Laviolette (Tallinn University/UCL) email
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Short Abstract

This panel explores how being marginal and senses of belonging are simultaneously integrated in mobilities by examining various types of movements in a heterogeneous mobile world of moving bodies and materials.

Long Abstract

This panel explores how being marginal and senses of belonging are simultaneously integrated in mobilities. Being on the move is itself circulatory. Occasionally chaotic, it entails complex social relations with other moving bodies (and materials) travelling in the same, divergent or even opposite directions, at various speeds and rhythms, for different, related and unrelated, purposes. In a heterogeneous mobile world, motions and socialities are constantly being negotiated through mobile encounters which can provide a sense of alienation. Mobility, however, is also about being and becoming. At the same time that one may sense disorientation whilst on the move, this state (or modality) is also about placing oneself in the world. The routes people travel are thus narrated and established as places in themselves. Hence, at the same time that travelling is used as a strategy to connect people with places and measure them up against their surroundings, it can simultaneously act as a disconnect - shaping borders which sometimes need to be crossed but that (as boundaries) cannot always be breached, increasing a sense of marginality. In framing these negotiatory processes, this panel's papers shall examine various types of movements in different contexts. Whilst some address the motif of the lone, wandering traveller, others touch upon issues such as group migrancy, nomadism and transient researchers. By considering the routes themselves and the narratives they contain, the materialities of travel will equally feature as an analytical category.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Changing perspectives of home and away: travelling experiences of Estonian backpackers in Australia

Author: Helleka Koppel (University of Tartu)  email

Short Abstract

I focus on the changing perspectives of Estonian backpackers in Australia. I ask why is the feeling of being away appreciated and how people narrate about their journey and its influence to their lives during and after the travel.

Long Abstract

Backpacker travel is today a growing part of international tourism. The presence of backpackers almost everywhere is a good evidence of the increasingly mobile world. Backpackers are often characterized as travellers on a low budget with a flexible itinerary, travelling long term and appreciating close contact with local cultures.

The aim of my research is to find out why backpacking as a form of tourism has become so popular among young Estonians, in what way it relates to today's global and mobile world and what are the contradictions of backpacker ideology and practice. In this paper I concentrate on the changing perspectives of Estonian working holiday backpackers in Australia during and after the travel.

Usually the trip is seen as a break from a routine. The state of liminality, of being away enables backpackers to gain new perspectives on their society, their life at home and to reflect upon their own identities which is why several researchers have approached backpacking as a contemporary rite of passage. I focus on questions such as why do people choose to break their routines by travelling far away; how do they narrate about their experience; how do backpackers perceive their life at home while being abroad; how does the travel influence their life after that; why some people choose to stay abroad and create new life routines there.

Auto-stop ethnography

Author: Patrick Laviolette (Tallinn University/UCL)  email

Short Abstract

Inspired by several auto-ethnographic vignettes, this presentation explores hitch-hiking narratives, performances and experiences along stochastic roadscapes.

Long Abstract

With its origins grounded in certain impressionistic narratives of the open road, this presentation explores hitch-hiking. Through textual and audio-visual descriptions which are largely auto-ethnographic in character, it considers a number of poetic, political and performative themes related to the alternative modalities of experience involved in thumbing a ride. These include: alienation, dependence, fear, sociability, protest, time and mobility -- all relate to hitching in some way.

Everyday forms of car travel obviously structure many of our spatial perceptions and experiences. The aim here, however, is to question how breaks of convention, such as those which exist in hitching a lift, impact upon the sensing of place and the encounter with marginalised spaces of road networks. The search for a journey begins with the search for oneself and continues by seeking some artificially constructed form of voyaging solidarity. As a cross-culturally interesting phenomenon, l'auto-stop inevitably relies on need and reciprocity. As a stochastic method of travel, it nonetheless has the potential for de-normativising car trips, whereby destinations are no longer extensions of the present. Its participants act through certain compelling desires to move in an intensely free yet highly constrained manner; often seeking heights of physical and mental experience as if travel, perhaps even life itself, were fleeting opportunities. Roads, vehicles and bequested transport are part of that opportunity.

Keywords: alternative travel; auto-ethnography; ethnographic documentary; performance; roadscapes.

Mobile connections: routes as boundaries, boundaries as places

Author: Katrín Anna Lund (University of Iceland)  email

Short Abstract

This paper follows different routes, roads and paths, to and from and in the region of Strandir, in the north-west of Iceland, in order to examine how they do only connect but also disrupt connectivity by establishing boundaries and mobilising a sense for marginality.

Long Abstract

Routes, roads and pathways are usually thought of as connections between and within places as structures supporting increased mobilities and connectivity not the least in relation to places that are defined as marginal, most often seen as lacking connections. Still, as roads and pathways connect they do also cut across, disrupting connectivity and constructing boundaries between and within places mobilising the sense of marginality, as some may feel empowered by it whilst others may need to negotiate and readjust to increased marginality. Thus, the establishment of roads and paths re-orders the mental and material mapping of a place precisely by establishing borders.

This paper follows different routes, roads and paths, to and from and in the region of Strandir in the north-west of Iceland. The region's barren coastal landscape and geographical location by the north Atlantic ocean has always provided it the aura of isolation and marginality although to different degrees depending on changing modes of transport over time. In this paper I shall demonstrate how the region´s boundaries has continuously been shaped and re-shaped. By following different types of routes, using different modes of transport, I examine how the region's marginal position has altered and changed through different kinds of mobile practices during different historical periods. What appears is that whilst routes cut across places, establishing borders, they also contain the narratives of people's mobile connections and disconnections along and across the region and thus they emerge as places in themselves.

I'm not from here, nor from there: permanently re-circulating

Author: Jordi Roca (Universitat Rovira i Virgili)  email

Short Abstract

The proposal is focused on Spanish men married to Brazilian women who live alternatively in Spain and Brazil. Adaptation strategies to each location and the influence on identity will be discussed.

Long Abstract

The facility and consequent growth of international mobility experienced in the last two decades together with the new geopolicy that emerges in the current crisis context are modifying the direction and modalities of migratory processes.

This has allowed the incorporation of new terminology, such as Brain Exchange (brain gain and brain drain), Brain waste or Brain circulation, in an attempt to conceptualize these changes. Our proposal will be focused on a kind of mobility that supposes a recent and scarcely studied modality. People that generally due to work-related reasons, although frequently associated with other variables (sentimental, familiar, etc); live alternatively in two different countries. They are more than migrants and re-migrants, since their circulation is permanent. Their specific problematic goes beyond a closed process -with a beginning and an end- of re-defining their position, to become a continuous and/or periodically repeated process in two different locations in relation to strategies, behavior, and practices aimed at integration and adaptation to each context. The intention is to present, from a case study of couples formed by a Spanish man and a Brazilian woman, the strategies displayed, the perceptions generated in each country, and how the permanent circulation between two different countries influences both identity formation and the nature of interchange; and to discuss the re-definition, in this case, of the concept of trasnationalism.

Post-socialist Runaway. Thinking without a Banister in Turbo Normality

Author: Francisco Martínez (University of Helsinki)  email

Short Abstract

I explore the consequences of internalising shocks and crisis as the norm, which determines our ways of making sense and produces a society in a permanent state of transition. Post-socialism is compared to a waiting room, referring to a state of in-betweenness, indeterminacy, and entropy.

Long Abstract

In this paper I depict several snapshots from Tallinn (Estonia), which interrupt and question the hegemonic discourse about transition by suspending 'normality', its necessity and causality and the way we experience the flow and course of time. The post-socialist Zeitgeist has been conditioned by a runaway experience and has nostalgia as a symptom. During the last decades, many people have found in nostalgia a safety-shelter or the way to deal with a blurred horizon. I explore the consequences of internalising shocks and crisis as the norm, which determines our ways of making sense and produces a society in a permanent state of transition. In this work post-socialism is compared to a waiting room, referring to a state of in-betweenness, indeterminacy, and entropy. I conclude that the contemporary chaos and turbo normality is better understood if we go off the established social patterns, un-develop post-socialism, and approach the field intuitively, without any reliance on preconceived categories. Without a critical thinking, the living present shrinks into a small point that is by crisis stretched at infinitum.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.