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Transnational Dwelling and Objects of Connection: An Ethnological Contribution to Critical Studies of Migration
Malmö högskola, Faculty of Culture and Society (KS), Department of Global Political Studies (GPS). Malmö högskola, Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare (MIM).ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9621-6751
2017 (English)In: Ways of dwelling: crisis, craft, creativity: 13th SIEF congress Göttingen, Germany March 26-30 2017, SIEF (Societé Internationale d’Ethnologie et de Folklore / International Society for Ethnology and Folklore) , 2017, p. 267-270Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Migrants carry, send and receive things across state borders: coffee-makers and teapots, candy and spices, used and new clothes, medicine, books, and a myriad of other items of emotional or practical value. Home-made food is smuggled in overloaded suitcases, old shoes are repaired ‘back home’, kettles are travelling between the ‘here’ of residence and the ‘there’ of origin. The use of objects, products and food from one place in another indicates functioning transnational connections. Rather than ideas and discourses of identity and belonging, this paper explores objects of everyday use. They may serve as palpable connections between migrants, those who stayed behind, and homes located in different countries, and contribute to the (re)production of social ties. At the same time, ethnographic research shows that such objects facilitate familiar material practices that are central to the subjective experience of continuity within transnational dwelling. These are things to hold on to, they help migrants to overcome segregation between distant homes. The sense of self may be dependent on a particular object being in place, which thereby becomes a place of home. But it is not only a matter of embodied memories and sensory recollections; the sense of ‘being yourself in your own home’ is achieved by practical engagement with objects. Ethnological insights into the practices of transnational dwelling challenge the clear-cut conceptualisations of mobility and stability, of absence and presence, of ‘here’ and ‘there’. The ways some objects appear as material layers of transnational social fields depend on the specific intersections of economy, geography, and biography that are seldom fully contained in migrant categories pertaining to work, study, family, and asylum, or in the ethnic grouping of migrants. Empirical attention to personal engagements with the materiality of transnational dwelling can be opened up for theoretical contributions to critical studies of migration. Investigating the everyday objects of transnational connection rather than prioritising the markers of ethnic identity may help to destabilise the dominant ways migrants are thought of in terms of difference.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SIEF (Societé Internationale d’Ethnologie et de Folklore / International Society for Ethnology and Folklore) , 2017. p. 267-270
Keywords [en]
migration, transnational dwelling, being and belonging, habitus, hexis
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-11007Local ID: 24240ISBN: 978-3-8309-3954-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mau-11007DiVA, id: diva2:1408050
Conference
13th SIEF (Societé Internationale d’Ethnologie et de Folklore / International Society for Ethnology and Folklore) Congress, Göttingen, Germany (26-30 March 2017)
Available from: 2020-02-29 Created: 2020-02-29 Last updated: 2023-03-13Bibliographically approved

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https://www.siefhome.org/congresses/sief2017/https://www.siefhome.org/doi/sief2017.shtml

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Povrzanovic Frykman, Maja

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