Former hominger Luis Eduardo Pérez-Murcia has recently published a paper on the experience of home in relation to death and funerals among the members of transnational families. The paper, in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies,draws on the author’s HOMInG fieldwork with Peruvian and Ecuadorian people in Spain and in the UK. More info below.
Luis Eduardo Perez Murcia (2022) ‘My soul stills hurts’: bringing death and funerals into the ageing-migration-home nexus, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, DOI: 10.1080/1369183X.2022.2115626
This article looks at how death and funerals influence experiences of home amongst people ageing within transnational families. Drawing on ethnographic research with Ecuadorian and Peruvian migrants in Spain and England, and the elderly members of their families in their countries of origin, it argues that the fear of dying, the death of relatives, and the impossibility to attend their funerals profoundly shape the experience of home at both sides of the Atlantic. The narratives of those ageing in South America reveal that the fear of dying without seeing their adults children’s return, or even visiting them, aggravates feelings of loneliness and affects their sense of home. The stories of those ageing in Europe reveal that the death of close kin and the impossibility of attending their funerals shape their attitudes towards home in both their ‘host-lands’ and ‘home-lands’. Not being able to join funerary ceremonies, touch the hands of deceased relatives and say goodbye in preparation for the latter’s final journey consistently disrupts their sense of home, if not forever, then for a significant part of their lives. By bringing death and funerals into the ageing-migration-home nexus this article complicates questions of home and return in later life.