HOMInG’s Paolo Boccagni has just published in Mobilities an open access article that revisits and advances further the project’s theoretical approach, after five years of fieldwork.
Homing: a category for research on space appropriation and ‘home-oriented’ mobilities
This article is a conceptual invitation to homing, to revisit the everyday social experience of home as a situated manifestation of lifelong needs and desires for space appropriation. Through acts of homing and their accumulation over space and time, people articulate a tension to ‘move’ towards a place or condition they construct as home, engaging in a dialectic relation between the experienced and aspired socio-material, relational and cultural features of home. Drawing on the consolidated use of homing in natural sciences, on the emergent ones in social sciences, and on my fieldwork with migrants and refugees, I outline a conceptual framework of homing for social research on (im)mobilities. I understand homing as a set of home-related routines and practices, and as an underlying existential struggle toward a good-enough state of being at home. This, empirically, is a matter of (in)capabilities and exclusivities, with the underlying structures of inequality. Homing is ultimately an invitation to reframe and approach home as becoming, rather than only as being, feeling, or making. While this conceptualization aims to speak to the ordinary experience of space attachment and appropriation, it assumes particular relevance in migration and mobility studies. Homing as a category means looking at the lived experience of home as an attempt to tread the fine line between past ascriptions and future-oriented potentialities, and as a visible manifestation of group, societal and existential inequalities.
Keywords: Homing, Home, Homemaking, Mobility, Migration, Space appropriation