HOMInG 1 – H1: The ways of constructing home
Project one (H1) investigates the cognitive and emotional bases of the home experience in a comparative and multi-method perspective. It does so by collecting data on the subjective constructions of home that emerge from three ideal-typical categories of respondents – immigrants, natives, left-behinds. Individuals’ ways of constructing home are studied under the influence of extended detachment from earlier home-like milieus (for movers), of increasing societal diversity (for their native counterparts) and of the aftermaths of emigration (for left-behinds), given the differential assets and opportunities available for home-making between and within these categories.
Within this threefold framework, the core research focus is on migrants’ shifting ways of understanding home, and on their often limited ways of feeling at home. What factors account for their perceptions of home, and how do present perceptions fare against those they cultivated in the past and project into the future, considering their migratory (and housing) pathways? This calls for original fieldwork on migrant reported experience of home, as embodied, disembodied and re-embodied over their biographies.
Four research activities are central to H1: first, exploratory interviews on the views and emotions associated with home within a set of immigrant and native neighbours with comparable profiles, to be conducted in two rounds – at the outset and at the end of the research programme; second, life history collection with selected immigrants, in (or as close as possible to) their domestic spaces, with a view to reconstructing their understandings and perceptions of home against the backdrop of their changing domestic environments and life trajectories; third, in-depth interviews with immigrants’ “significant others” in sending societies, focused on their views and feelings of home as compared with those of their emigrant counterparts, and as affected by migration itself; last, a comparative survey on the meanings, values and objects that migrants, natives and left-behinds associate with home as an idealized construction and as an everyday life experience.