Homing Interviews

HOMInG interview #43
Durham University
Conducted by Enrico Fravega
February 2020
H“Homemaking and temporality are fundamentally connected. The process of homemaking involves a significant amount of investment, investing into a place in terms of thinking about a set of aspirations and behaviours. Thinking home is also about, not just relational connections to other people, to networks, to material objects into a physical space and ownership of that space, but it’s also about feeling that there’s some sense that you can begin to aspire from that space, that you can have some sort of hope attached. And so those aspects are fundamental to the production of home. When we’re thinking about the temporality of homemaking, it’s not simply about the duration that you spend somewhere, but also about how an individual can project into the future”.

 

HOMInG interview #42

Homing interview with Barak Kalir (University of Amsterdam)
conducted by Milena Belloni
(December, 2019)

K“In my perspective, territory is always taken. All the land is taken, since the land, as an abstract concept, is of no one. This is why home, for me, is always the consolidation of violence. In my writing I’m always very critical of this notion. It is often an exclusionary concept. Take my work on deportation… the reasoning behind deportation is often that people need to go back to their home. And there you see the double side of home: on the one hand, we say that this is our home and you do not belong here. On the other hand, we assign you to a place/home that maybe has never been yours or which you had good reason to leave. Home is hardly ever used in a positive way in the deportation field”.

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HOMInG interview #41

Homing interview with Hazel Easthope

(University of New South Wales – Sydney)

Conducted by Paolo Boccagni

Uppsala, June 2018

e“Home is about the relationships that people have with places, not necessarily understood as locations or spaces but as relevant nodes in networks… home is a particularly important kind of node, where lots of things come together and characterize a strong positive emotional connection. If a place doesn’t have a positive connection that can be an important node but perhaps not a home. There is a lot of literature about whether the home consists of location or whether it is in the ether. I don’t think that matters. In talking about home, people don’t necessarily talk about living and dwelling, they talk about important nodes in their lives where lots of other things come and go, it is origin and destination of lots of relationships… It’s a very relational concept.”

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HOMInG interview #40

HOMInG interview with Peter Kivisto (Augustana College)

Conducted by Paolo Boccagni, November 2019

KI“It’s obviously [Marc Chagall’s Remembrance] about transplantation. You try to bring the home with you, but it’s also the weight of it, right? If that guy was not trying to do that, he would be standing upright, not all hunched-over. It’s a dualistic thing: on the one hand this guy has a desire to take his home with him, but he is paying a price, and anyone looking at him can see that the home is a burden. He could be travelling lighter, if he didn’t have it, but presumably he is compelled for whatever reason to accept the burden”.

 

HOMInG interview #39

HOMInG interview with Rachael Kiddey (University of Oxford)

Conducted by Luis Eduardo Pérez Murcia, October 2019

marmite“There is much to be learned by studying the materiality of forced displacement, partly because forced migration and lived experiences of displacement are so often conceived in purely dematerialised terms. […] It is my contention that emergency shelter for displaced people should be designed with the intention of creating environments in which people can attempt to make (or remake) home, however minimally”

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HOMInG interview #38

HOMInG interview with Stijn Oosterlynck (University of Antwerp)

Conducted by Milena Belloni

October 2019

oo“I don’t think that homing should be equated to the fact that people like the place where they stay. We often see that people live in substandard places, but are still expressing attachment to it. It is cognitive dissonance. If you live in a place with a leaking roof of course you don’t like it but you can still feel at home there. Because it is hard to live in a place which you deeply hate. If you know that a place has to be your home for the future, as there is no way to find something else, you will start to accommodate yourself in some way. You could not explain otherwise how all these people live in substandard conditions but do homing in one way or another. My idea is that familiarity creates security because it becomes predictable. And I think you can get attached to things you do not like out of necessity, or because that is the way things have always been. It is like solidarity. People do not have to like each other personally for them to be in solidarity with each other”.

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HOMInG interview #37

HOMInG interview with Keith Jacobs (University of Tasmania)

Conducted by Paolo Boccagni

November 2019

Risultato immagini per Keith Jacobs books

“For people in very precarious housing – homeless people, refugees, asylum seekers – the symbolic features of the home may actually be more pronounced when compared to the experiences of many people who are happily housed. […] we know from research with homeless people that even if they are living on the street, some of the things they take around with them, and also their ideas of what a home constitutes, are very important psychically. So, in a way the significance of the home can be more pronounced for people who haven’t got a home, or whose relationship with the home is very precarious”.

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HOMInG interview #36

HOMInG interview with Kim Dovey (University of Melbourne)

Conducted by Paolo Boccagni

November 2019

HO“I live in Australia where the original inhabitants have 60,000 years of learning how to respect and love a particularly fragile place – that needs to be respected for more than just the emotional connection. As an ordered relation to a particular environment the concept of home might also be extended to non-human species. […] [H]ome does have deep roots but it also has wings. Becoming at home in a new place is a learning experience and an adaptive process for both newcomers and longer-term inhabitants”.

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HOMInG interview #35

HOMInG interview with Maja Povrzanović Frykman (Malmö University)

Conducted by Ilka Vari-Lavoisier

November 2019

Untitle1d“Military violence led people to re-discover the place of their daily life in conditions of thorough disruption of normality as they knew it. What can you do if your town is under siege and your home is turned into a place of fear and destruction? The notions of safety and coziness were not applicable, and yet, many people decided to stay in their homes not only during attack alarms, but also during actual attacks. Staying at home was a minimal, very private, act of resistance. At the same time, it was the safety of normality in one’s own home, the familiarity of the place, that could help people “forget” the danger. People who experienced life under siege also told me how they perceived their entire town as home.” Read the interview!
HOMInG interview #34

HOMInG interview with Cecilia Menjivar (Department of Sociology,  UCLA)

Conducted by Milena Belloni and Ilka Vari-Lavoisier

Trento, September 2019

MEN2.jpg“In cases of Central American women seeking asylum with which I work, the main objective of their asylum petition is precisely not to be sent home. These women are fighting the U.S. government’s decision to send them home, as that is the furthest place from security and comfort. They may be familiar with their home, but in their cases, familiarity does not invoke comfort. This could be true for anyone who has experienced any form of violence at home—the domestic space and their homeland. So for people seeking asylum, they have more complex relationships with home, and experience a dissociation of familiarity and security which are conventionally associated with home”.

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“Home is a very different place depending on who’s left there. The kinning of people is very much tied to the kinning of place. Once your parents die, unless you have very close relations with siblings, which can be much more fraught, then your right to home needs to be negotiated”.

 

 

 

HOMInG interview #32

HOMInG interview with Marta Bivand Erdal (Research Professor at PRIO – Peace Research Institute Oslo)

Conducted by Sara Bonfanti

Malmo, June 2019

BB.jpg“I am a bit critical of the saying that goes “home is where the heart is”, which I find simplistic, at least if it is not pluralized. Home is always also a material space and a set of relations that change over time. From interviews with migrants… we really get the sense that homes can be – and often are – plural. Furthermore, people’s memory and projections of home change across the life course and as one’s socio-economic situation changes”.

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HOMInG interview #31

HOMInG interview with Margarethe Kusenbach (University of South Florida)

Conducted by Paolo Boccagni

October 2019

KU.jpg“All social relationships happen somewhere, even if located in virtual space. The meaning of places for people is often embedded in past, future or imagined social relationships with others, whether these others are people or pets or abstract others such as god or nature. A sense of home develops when one’s connection to a place (and, by extension, others) takes on particular emotional qualities, namely those of familiarity, shelter/comfort, personal expression and social belonging. When it exists, home is often unnoticed, just like the air that surrounds us. Ironically, home is perhaps most noticeable when there is something wrong with it or in its absence”.
Homing interview #30

HOMInG interview with Gordon Mathews (Chinese University of  Hong Kong)

Conducted by Paolo Boccagni

Trento, September 2019

MAT
“Home is an ideal that is overwhelmingly positive for almost everybody. In reality it often does not fit that. There are hundreds of millions of people, or probably billions of people, for whom the actual home they feel is lacking – whether they are abused by a spouse or a parent or whether they are in poverty, home does not seem like home. But the ideal remains… It’s an ideal we live for. It’s incredibly powerful. But of course, it may have all sorts of real consequences”.

 

HOMInG interview #29

HOMInG interview with Helen Taylor

Conducted by Paolo Boccagni

Trento, November 2018

HT
“People have unequal access to the ability to define what their home will be. While some have the privilege to move, and the economic and social capital to make decisions on what home will be like for them, others have limited capacity for all sorts of reasons. Refugees don’t necessarily have the possibility to define what, where and how home will be for them… for those who lost their homes, there can bea very strong connection to a particular town or village – which is sometimes seen as the ultimate home, precisely because it has been lost. This can be the case even if, in reality, those who left wouldn’t want to return”.

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HOMInG interview #28

HOMInG interview with Peter Kellett (Newcastle University)

Conducted by Sara Bonfanti, Aurora Massa, Alejandro Miranda and Ilka Vari-Lavoisier 

January 2018

kellet-1.jpg“Those of us studying informal settlements are in a privileged position to go beyond examining the use of space and processes of inhabitation, to also engage in the processes of creating, defining and building spaces.  Dwellings are occupied even before they are built – from the first days when all that exists are fragile structures.  These are slowly transformed through time into solid dwellings – meaning that the house-building and home-making processes happen at the same time… much of the policy literature is based on the reductive idea that housing is essentially about shelter – and overlooks fundamental human processes of home-making, of creating meaningful places where people can live in dignity”.

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HOMInG interview #27

HOMInG interview with Hilde Heynen (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)

Conducted by Paolo Boccagni

Bruxelles, March 2019

HH2“Modernity is about being uprooted and leaving the traditional home, but it also entails looking for a new and better home: the idea of a future Heimat, not the nostalgic heimat of the Nazis, but the ideal image of a world in which all people can pursue happiness in a just society; a utopian idea of Heimat.

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HOMInG intervew #26

HOMInG interview with Ann Varley (Department of Geography, UCL)

Conducted by Sara Bonfanti and Alejandro Miranda

Trento, January 2019

AV
“What counts as home varies from place to place: even at the most basic level of the word we use. In Mexico, for example, hogar is probably the closest, but it isn’t quite the same. It means both ‘hearth’ and ‘household’. At the same time, people’s responses to questions we had asked about what home meant to them … reproduced, time and time again, the same sort of values that people in the UK would be likely to mention. People made close links between the home, family, and sense of self”.

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HOMInG interview #25

HOMInG interview with Peggy Levitt (professor and chair of sociology, Wellesley College; Associate at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs)

Conducted by Paolo Boccagni, Sara Bonfanti and Ilka Vari-Lavoisier

Trento, April 2019

LEW
“Home is not just the house of the American dream. We found out that home is far more than that. Artists since the second WW have approached home as a network of relationships from the womb of mother to the self, to the house, to the neighborhood, to the the city, and then to the homeland. Artists have tried to capture these relationships in many ways.

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HOMInG interview #24

HOMInG interview with Michelle Obeid (University of Manchester)

Conducted by Luis Eduardo Perez Murcia in Manchester

OR“Creating or recreating home is probably the most obvious and complex way of making life ‘normal’, since home seems to be the most ‘normal’ or ‘basic’ thing that humans everywhere need, regardless of what shape it takes. Home of course can be mobile, or different for different people. Yet, it is one of those things that is cross-cultural and universal. So exploring how one makes home and what it means in different contexts, in relation to people, place and even nation, makes ‘home’ a productive concept”.

 

HOMInG interview #23

HOMInG interview with Michele Lancione (Urban Institute, Sheffield University)

Conducted by Milena Belloni

September 2018

Michele_2016“Home is where everything starts. We have “the homeless” because our idea of home includes the possibility of being without home: you can be at home but you can also loose that home. That is what interests me about “home”. It’s impossibility. Even if home is the place where you belong, and where you have a nice life, there is always the potential to lose that. This complexity, this conundrum, is the whole point. Home is never something that is safe, that is neat and clean. It is always something that is contested within and outside; something that is lost and re-appropriated. ”

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HOMInG interview #22

HOMInG interview with Robin Cohen (Emeritus Professor of Development Studies, University of Oxford)

Conducted by Ilka Vari-Lavoisier 

Oxford, December 2018

COH5
“Without theorizing home and understanding its full complexity, diaspora is largely a vacuous concept. I find myself questioning two positions, both of which I think are simplifications. 1. Home is (only) one particular nation-state from which a diaspora was scattered and to which it continues to relate. 2. Home can be totally imagined, literally spaceless. In short, home has to be understood in all its complexity, not only imagined, or seen as only one nation-state”.
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HOMInG interview #21

HOMInG interview with Iris Levin (Research Fellow, Centre for Urban Transitions, Swinburne University, Melbourne)

Conducted by Paolo Boccagni

Frankfurt, 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

HOMInG interview with Deirdre McKay (Reader in Social Geography and Environmental Politics, Keele University)

(Reader in Social Geography and Environmental Politics, Keele University)

Conducted by PaoloBoccagni 

Trento, 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 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

London, 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 with Anne Sigfrid Grønseth (Professor in Social Anthropology, Lillehammer University College)

Conducted by Aurora Massa

Stockholm, 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

HOMInG interview with Ghassan Hage (Professor of Anthropology and Social Theory, University of Melbourne; Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities)

Conducted by Sara Bonfanti

Trento, September 2018

ha
“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 with Tom Scott Smith (Associate Professor of Refugee Studies and Forced Migration; Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford)

Conducted by Ilka Vari-Lavoisier

Oxford, 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 with Dirk Geldof (Senior Lecturer, University of Antwerp and Odisee University College Brussels)

dirkgeldof
Conducted by Milena Belloni

Antwerp, 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

HOMInG interview with Oliver Bakewell (Senior Lecturer, Global Development Institute, University of Manchester)

bake
Conducted by Luis Eduardo Perez Murcia

Manchester, 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
s200_noel_b-salazar
“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 interview with Antonio Tosi (Politecnico di Milano) – in Italian

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 with 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 with Nancy Foner (Distinguished Professor of Sociology, Hunter College and City University of New York)

Conducted by Paolo Boccagni and Sara Bonfanti

Trento, May 2018 

Foner
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 with Olivia Sheringham (Queen Mary University of London)

Conducted by Sara Bonfanti,

Trento, April 2018

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 with Pnina Werbner (Professor Emerita in Social Anthropology, Keele University)

Conducted by Sara Bonfanti and Paolo Boccagni

Trento, November 2017

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 with Daniel Miller (Department of Anthropology, UCL)
Conducted by Sara Bonfanti, October 2017

DMill
“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 inerview with Jan Willem Duyvendak (Rector of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS-KNAW); Distinguished Research Professor of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam)

Conducted by Alejandro Miranda, September 2017

JWD
“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

HOMInG interview with Melissa Butcher (Birbeck, University of London) 

Conducted by Sara Bonfanti, September 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

HOMInG interview with Stef Jansen (University of Manchester)

Conducted by Aurora Massa, 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

HOMInG interview with Cathrine Brun (Oxford Brookes University)

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

PHS

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

HOMInG interview with Irene Cieraad (Delft University of Technology)

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

Ci
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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