Homing Interviews

Homing interview #21


Research Fellow at the Centre for Urban Transitions, Swinburne University, Melbourne.

Conducted by Paolo Boccagni in Frankfurt, 15 December 2018.

IL.jpg“The basic thing is that we all want to belong and feel at home. There is a similarity in the ways people construct home, even from different cultures, countries and cities, and even with very different built environments and different opportunities to do what they want. The feeling of home and the desire to feel at home is universal, I think. We all share it.”

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Homing interview #20


Reader in SocialGeography and Environmental Politics at Keele University.

Conducted by PaoloBoccagni in Trento, 21 June 2018

“For lower skilled and undocumented migrants it is very difficult to make anything that would resemble a home. My Filipino respondents would never describe the places they lived as home. There was not enough space there, they could not decorate them in a way they liked, nor have personal mementos displayed… so this wasn’t home, because my respondents believed home to be a place where the material culture is about them, their history, their taste… they were embarassed about their UK living spaces, but proud of the ones they were making in the Philipipines”.

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Homing interview #19

HOMING INTERVIEW #19 with Maja Korac-Sanderson

Reader in Refugee and Migration Studies, Department of Social Sciences, Cass School of Education and Communities, University of East London.

Conducted by Luis Eduardo Perez Murcia in London in July 2018

Dr Korac Sanderson (2).png“While I was still living in Belgrade, and at the height of nationalistic frensy in the country, I felt that in some very important ways I no longer feel at home there. This, of course, is nothing unusual, because homes are not only places of comfort, protection and security. They are also and more often than not, contested places of insecurity and at times, oppression. Children and women, in particular, experience their homes often as places of repression, a quality that remains hidden behind the label ‘private’ that the notion of home carries. What is home and where is home is continuously in flux, even for those who stay put, let alone for those who no longer are in the place where they were born, where they grew up, and were educated. For those of us who also moved to places marked by a new language, cultural codes, and an unfamiliar social fabric of life, the meaning of home and the possibility of pinning it to one place is even more fluid, I think. Where I see and feel myself at home depends on what is most needed or important for my sense of self and related aspirations and life plans, in a specific moment of my life”.

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Homing interview #18

HOMING INTERVIEW # 18: Anne Sigfrid Grønseth

Professor in Social Anthropology at Lillehammer University College

Conducted by Aurora Massa in Stockholm on 16 August 2018

GR“During our research, we found asylum seekers engaged in what we would call homemaking processes: they buy things they like, they often have brought small things with them – such as a carpet from their sister or dresses from their mother -, they sometimes have things sent to in the post for them… at the same time they do not want these accommodations to be their homes. They can be seen to engage in homemaking practices, despite their poor living standard and limited access to material goods, they display and arrange objects in likeable ways, while also not wanting these things to make and be their home. In this sense, the asylum seekers can be seen to engage in a sort of fight against their inclination to make a home: they make home in a place they do not want to be their home”.

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Homing Interview #17


Professor of Anthropology and Social Theory, University of Melbourne, and Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

Conducted by Sara Bonfanti on 12 Sept. 2018 – University of Trento

“Occupying a space does not necessarily mean you develop a homely attachment to it. That’s the case of many migrants: some of them may be physically at home but feel detached from it, whereas others might be away from home but still feel they are connected or belong to it. And there’s no simple equation between a place of origin and one of destination, or of several movements across time, as I tried to articulate about the continuous ambivalence of multiple spatiality for diasporic subjects”.

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Homing Interview #16

HOMInG interview #16: Tom Scott Smith

Associate Professor of Refugee Studies and Forced Migration,
Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford

Conducted by Ilka Vari-Lavoisier on 11 September 2018

TSSS“The things that made people’s experience, or daily life, difficult when living in shelters often came down to whether or not they could control what they ate, whether or not they could cook for themselves, whether or not they could control the lighting, whether or not they had privacy and whether or not they had a door and could actually lock it, whether or not the shelter was more or less integrated in the urban fabric, whether or not there were some sense of variation within the shelter, or whether it was just monotonous. In many ways those seem very basic things, but they just failed again and again”.

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Homing Interview #15

Homing Interview #15: Dirk Geldof

Senior Lecturer at the University of Antwerp and at Odisee University College Brussels.

Conducted by Milena Belloni in Berchem, Antwerpen on 12th July, 2018.

Photos by Jorge Alcalde. Extracts from the series “Antwerp… in the year 5777” : the Jewish quarter” and “A stroke of light… the neighbourhood” (www.jorgealcaldephotography.be).

“Housing pathways are very important I think. People’s preferences about housing change a lot over time due to their age, financial means, things they learned from their parents, what they are taking with them etc. Looking at what home means, implies also examining life trajectories and the crucial transition periods”.

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Homing Interview #14


bakeHOMInG interview
with Oliver Bakewell
Senior Lecturer at the Global Development Institute, University of Manchester
Conducted by Luis Eduardo Perez Murcia in Manchester on 15 March 2018

“I was always aware that I was staying in places where did not belong. That experience
led me to start using a simple definition that I find work for me: home is a place where I do not have to explain where I am there.”

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Homing Interview #13
Conducted by Milena Belloni
“Home is not an easy concept because it is pluriversal. It is used by many people, academics and non-academics alike and has a lot of different meanings. However, what is clear is that it is a relational concept. This means that it expresses a certain relation that a certain person or a group of people have with something or somebody else. This is often translated in terms of attachment and belonging. Now, when I think of home, I think of the first home of the human: the womb. That is the first ‘home’ and it says a lot about the concept in general”.

Homing Interview #12

HOMInG’s interview #12 (in Italian): Antonio Tosi

Conducted by Paolo Boccagni 

Tosi.jpg“Unlike ‘dwelling’, the concept of home enables us to move beyond bricks-and-mortar. It foregrounds, as a value, our relationship with a more or less extended surrounding space. This traditionally corresponds to our neighbourdhood, and that’s it. But if we opt for a selective use of territory, as people increasingly do, ‘home’ can reach far beyond the neighbourhood. What matters is the existence of a special relationship with the surroundings. This is what creates home as a value”.

Homing Interview #11

Homing Interview #11: Janetka Platun

Conducted by Luis Eduardo Perez Murcia

Dragons“Feeling connected to more than one place in my own mind is why I’m interested in exploring home as a concept as an artist. The more I explore the idea of home the more confused it becomes in my mind”.

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Homing Interview #10

Homing Interview #10: Nancy Foner

Conducted by Paolo Boccagni and Sara Bonfanti, on 9th May 2018 in Trento.


In truth, migrants often have romanticized views of home. These views may provide comfort in the migrant setting when they, like Jamaicans in London and New York, experience disappointments and prejudice and discrimination.  But if they do actually return, they face a home that is less ideal than they remembered and that often has undergone significant change since”.

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Homing Interview #9

Homing Interview #9: Olivia Sheringham

Conducted by Sara Bonfanti, on 12th April 2018 in Trento.

https://www.imi.ox.ac.uk/people/o-sheringham/@@images/image/w320“What fascinates me is to explore how people can feel at home in multiple sites. Home is a dynamic idea in itself, because it constantly calls for its opposite. To understand it, we also have to challenge what is not home: it may be a place of violence, fear or lack. For instance, what does home mean for the homeless? Or for someone who is about to be evicted from their dwelling? Moreover, the sense of home is transient, it shifts with one’s life course and depends on one’s household circumstances.”.

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Homing Interview #8

Homing Interview #8: Pnina Werbner

Conducted by Sara Bonfanti and Paolo Boccagni, on 9th and 10th November 2017 in Trento.

PWpi“Home comes to us as an emotive concept, linked to our childhood, to ‘natural’ homes, motherhood, nurture and love. It promises unquestioning acceptance: ideally, we don’t have to wonder if we will be welcomed there at any time, although in practice not everyone will have this lucky exeprience”.

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Homing Interview #7

Homing Interview #7: Daniel Miller

Conducted by Sara Bonfanti on 16th Oct. 2017


“If your situation is more fragile, if you have difficulties or lack of stability, then, I believe you need a much more fixed concept of home that provides you with that sense of solidity; and home may represent many things that you do not necessarily have. So, the point about home is that we are not talking of something which is only material or in terms of relationships, but of something that stands as an important presence and gives people in their life a sense of stability and foundation, something they feel most secure in relation to.”

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Homing Interview #6
Homing Interview #6: Jan Willem Duyvendak

Conducted by Alejandro Miranda on 13 September 2017


“Home became important in my scholarly work because in the field that was popping up dominantly and I started to think ‘who is researching emotions’? And emotions in sociology still are somewhat, I would say… it’s developing very quickly but there is still a lot to do”.

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Homing Interview #5

Interview with Melissa Butcher (Birbeck, University of London) 

Conducted by Sara Bonfanti, on Sept. 12th 2017

MB“From the perspective of social and cultural geography, home is a set of relationships and everyday practices with spatial and temporal dimensions. Participants in my work most often describe it as a space of comfort and security, whether that is a physical home of bricks and mortar, a neighborhood, or a nation-state”.

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Homing Interview #4

Interview with Stef Jansen (University of Manchester)

Conducted by Aurora Massa on 13 September 2017

“As an anthSJropologist, the way I came to conceptualize home emerged from my ethnographic research amongst displaced persons in the post-Yugoslav states. Nevertheless, the result of that inductive conceptualization of home is very much in line with Ghassan Hage’s definition…”

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Homing interview #3

Interview with Cathrine Brun (Oxford Brookes University)

Conducted by Aurora Massa, Sara Bonfanti and Alejandro Miranda on 12 July 2017.

“I am a geographer and what I do is trying to understand how the relationship between people and place changes through movement”.
Cathrine Brun (Oxford Brookes University). Photo credit: Therese Lee Støver. More information here.

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Homing interview #2

Interview with Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo (University of Southern California)

Conducted by Aurora Massa, Sara Bonfanti and Alejandro Miranda on 10 May 2017.


Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo is a Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Southern California. Her research examines how Latino immigrants negotiate challenges with informal sector work, varied legal status, and changing gender, family and community relations. In her recent project, “Latinas/os in South Los Angeles (LiSLA)”, she studies the social processes of Latina/o integration in historically African American neighborhoods of Los Angeles, looking at public parks and urban community gardens, considering the extent to which these sites create a sense of place, belonging and civic culture. More information here.

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Homing interview #1

Interview with Irene Cieraad (Delft University of Technology)

Conducted by Aurora Massa, Sara Bonfanti and Alejandro Miranda on 10 May 2017.

Irene Cieraad is a cultural anthropologist and senior research leader of Architectural Design/Interiors at Delft University of Technology. Her publications focus on a wide range of topics, such as domestic space, cultural history of the Dutch domestic interior, cultural theory, consumer cultures and household technology. More information here.

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