HOMInG 2 – H2: The ways of emplacing home

Project two (H2) explores the spatial and performative bases of the home experience, as affected by the major disjuncture of migration. It analyses the extent, forms and impacts of migrants’ home-making, against the backdrop of their local structure of opportunities – including the prevalent reactions of native populations and their ways of access (or lack thereof) to the job market, welfare services and, most obviously, housing. What happens of the spatialities which underpin home, once the latter is displaced – both as built environment and as a set of life routines – following international migration? And how is the experience of home differentially attached to significant people, places and objects under migrants’ life circumstances? Which material and relational arrangements, if any, do they find accessible and suitable to embody home, while adapting to home infrastructures and cultures in receiving societies?
Addressing these questions requires the bulk of analysis to be conducted in immigrants’ local communities of settlement, while looking also at their transnational engagement. HOMInG 2 translates into ethnographic research, first, on migrants’ ways of re-emplacing home in their everyday lives in receiving countries, at a variety of levels – dwelling places, the public sphere or even the virtual spaces of ICT media and communication. Furthermore, research is necessary on their transnational ways of emplacing home into their housing spaces in the communities of origin – an economic and social security investment, with strong underpinnings in kin-based moral economies and social status retention. Likewise, transnational care practices such as remittances and “home visits” are a channel of home-making towards their earlier life environments – possibly driven by an expectation for return there, hence for home re-emplacement, at a later stage. Overall, ethnography of immigrants’ homing practices in receiving countries, in and out of their domestic spaces, will be matched with fieldwork in migrants’ previous domestic environments. Members of the same family and kin networks will be studied in parallel, in relevant local contexts of immigration and emigration.