On November 9-10 HOMInG will host social anthropologist Pnina Werbner, a leading scholar of migration and diasporas. On Thursday November 9 at 4pm, Dpt. of Sociology, prof. Werbner will give a public seminar on The Illusion of Simultaneity: When Home loses its ‘Homeliness’ (see the abstract below). On the following day, November 10 at 11am, Pnina will give a talk on Migration and the sacralisation of (new) homes.
Pnina Werbner, Keele University
The Illusion of Simultaneity: When Home loses its ‘Homeliness’
Migration initiates a process in which the intimacies of home are shattered. The ‘community of space’, of vivid, ongoing face-to- face relationships, is lost and cannot be regained since, as Alfred Schütz long ago recognised, time is ‘irreversible’. ‘The homecomer is not the same man who left. He is neither the same for himself nor for those who await his return.’ Migration creates a sense of ‘double consciousness’, an awareness, as W.E.B. Dubois argues in relation to American blacks, of seeing oneself through the eyes of an other (1994: 5); a doubling up of a subject’s sense of belonging and alienation. The reversal of time, the disruption of intimate knowledge, the experience of double consciousness and the growing sense of regret and loss challenge simplistic theorisations of transnationalism as a uninterrupted social field, or of ‘transmigrants’ as mobile subjects unproblematically participating in more than one nation-state. However frequent the communication and travel between a migrant’s home country and country of migration, over time the gap between the two gradually widens and cannot be easily sutured: seen in the longue duree, history and memory are made elsewhere, whether at home or in the diaspora. The unproblematic assumption in transnational theory of uninterrupted, continuing, intimate, taken-for- granted sociality across homeland and diaspora misrecognises the critical phenomenological question of how intimate knowledge is sustained over discontinuous space and time.