|Monday, June 22|
Transnational migration is a major decision based on principal motivators in life. Migrants often pay a highly personal, psychological and social price for the gains they hope to make by moving to a new country. Among those potential gains, achieving a sense of being at home in the host country constitutes for the immigrant one of the most valued hoped-for outcomes. The general aim of this symposium is to advance the understanding of that particular outcome by focusing on the dynamics of time and place transformation and appropriation in the host country. More specifically, this symposium will pay attention to the processes by which migrants in different cities achieve a sense of being at home in the host country through (1) the spatial transformations of the city, i.e. the domestication of everyday living spaces, street or neighbourhood they inhabit (2) the practices and experiential dynamics underlying the emergence of the feeling of being at home in a given host country as well as the characterization of that particular experience of home (3) the meaning of things and of the material culture of migration at different stages of the process leading to ones sense of being at home.
* Enric Pol, University of Barcelona, Spain
Time and place-making in the age of migration and mobility: Reflections on the concept of appropriation 45 years later
* Andrés Di Masso, University of Barcelona, Spain
Perla Serfaty-Garzon, University of Strasbourg, France
* Enric Pol, University of Barcelona, Spain
At the time of the formal introduction, in the seventies, of the concept of appropriation of space in the people-environment studies (IAPC 1976), it was common to see the latter as a "young discipline", with only some authors outlining its earlier disciplinary origins (Graumann, 1978). Hellpach (1911, 1924) and Muchow (1935) introduced the Umweltpsychologie under the influence of Uexküll (1909, 1928), who emphasized the meaning and function of the lived space specific to the subject and his/her group. Uexküll’s concept of umwelt constitutes the background of Barker’s "Behavior setting" (through his professor Kurt Lewin) and Gibson’s ecological approach. It is also in the background of the concept of appropriation, as a way of reversing the alienation processes, as introduced by Lefebvre (1974), and developed by other sociologists and social psychologists such as Chombart de Lauwe (1976/1979, 1978). The concept of "appropriation of space" has nourished new visions of people’s links to their inhabited territories, of community, personal and collective identity, place attachment, personalization and place-making. Appropriation, time and place, form a strong and ever-present triangulation. What are the theoretical implications on this triangulation at a time of increased mobility opportunities, forced or “by choice” migration, work or study mobility, or temporary residence? Drawing on different lines of research (Benages et al., 2015; Di Masso et al., 2019, & forthcoming), this presentation will highlight the theoretical challenges posed by the new orders introduced by globalization and will offer a number of perspectives on the topic of place appropriation in the age of mobility.
Return Migration: Questions of Home and Belonging in Rural Ireland
* Christina Noble, James Hutton Institute , United Kingdom
Within Ireland, the awareness of return migration has become more prominent, but return is still commonly described as a ‘return home’ (Ralph 2009) evoking a level of permanence which overlooks the fact that through mobility and movement our connections to places, both imagined and real, are multiple and transformative. The presupposition to conceive of return as a permanent move is undermined by the uncertainty of many return migrants on their likelihood to remain in Ireland and the myriad ways in which a person can return, including the imagined, projected, planned or postponed returns that affect the experience of migrants (Cwerner 2001). Return migration is inherently temporal and has been seldom debated within return migration studies instead focusing upon the spatial implications of a place-based movement. However for return migrants, there is a period of time, post-return, where there is a feeling of being both in-between different places and times. This paper using life story interviews (Linde 1993) with a group of returned migrants to rural western counties of Ireland between 2011 and 2012, will seek to address the difficulties of reconciling different times, selves and places in the migrant’s life and what this can say about our understandings of home and belonging. I illustrate the temporariness and ambivalence for many who return to Ireland, focusing upon the everyday lived experiences and what this means for the conceptualisation of return itself in migration studies. Return is thus not specific to one bounded territory nor is it a singular act, instead it is played out amongst different places and across different times.
Evolution and integration of the Greek community of Greater Montreal: A perspective across three generations
* Athanasios Boutas, Université de Montréal, Canada
Sébastien Lord, Université de Montréal, Canada
The process of immigrating and settling in a new city is more than the uprooting of lives in the present; it sets up the foundation for future generations. The experiences of ethnic groups change as they choose from a vast continuum of possible strategies. Within this continuum fall four strategies in particular: assimilation, integration, marginalization, and separation. More recently, physical mobility and lifestyle choices as factors in the immigrant experience have also been explored. The aim of this research is to take these ideas and apply them to three generations of Greek-Montrealers inhabiting the Greater Montreal Area and to see if, and how much, the Greek community has changed over that time in terms of lifestyles and residential settings. This was accomplished by conducting semi-directed interviews and cartographic exercises with five participants from each of the three generations (n=15). A qualitative analysis allowed for a better understanding of how each generation moved across the urban territory and was influenced by factors such as places, spaces, and people. The results show that each generation has had different experiences and relationships with the city as a whole. For the first generation, home and community take place in a continuously foreign city, where life was often centered around the traditional ethnic neighbourhood. The second generation has lived in a community firmly established within the metropolitan area, having grown up in the ethnic neighbourhood, but moved further out as life has progressed. The third generation’s experiences revolve mostly a community that has dispersed beyond the traditional ethnic neighbourhood and into socio-spatial hubs. This research has permitted to confirm the existing literature of spatial assimilation among the Greek-Canadian diaspora, while also opening avenues to new ways of looking at this kind of assimilation through the lens of mobility, both for current and future generations.
Urban settlements and objects in the migratory experience in search of a new chez-soi. Case analysis in Barcelona
* Angela Castrechini, University of Barcelona, Spain
Isabel Pellicer, University of Barcelona, Spain
Montserrat Morales, University of Barcelona, Spain
Maria Rosa Bonet, University of Barcelona, Spain
Enric Pol, University of Barcelona, Spain
In migration processes, beyond survival in the most precarious cases, there are psychological aspects linked to the maintenance of a certain level of personal and social identity. Objects of high symbolic value are key, but also the transformation of aesthetic and use of public space. From fundamental contributions in the history of environmental psychology (Korosec-Serfaty, 1978; Rapoport, 1980, Proshansky et al., 1983; Noschis, 1984, Després, 1991 Twigeger-Ros & Uzzell, 1996) and other more recent ones (Després & Lord, 2005; Serfaty-Garzon, 2003, 2006a, b, 2013; Author, 2006; Ramadier, 2010; Saunders, 2010) we know the psychological importance of appropriation and attachment to the place. This process goes through action-transformation and identification with the environment (Author, 2002). This is part of a comparative research between Montreal and Barcelona, two very different urban realities and migration policies. We consider the transition through the different settlements in the host city, the spaces for everyday life, and the objects transported, inherited, imported or acquired on site. We focus on the results of the Barcelona sample. Semi-structured interviews to 28 immigrants from three different origins have been conducted: Maghreb, South America and Sub-Saharan Africa (the sample of Montreal is equivalent and from the same geographical area). Data is analyzed through the Atlas-Ti software. As we advanced in IAPS-Roma 2018, we find an emergent tendency towards "liquefaction" (in the Bauman sense) of these elements, and their replacement for virtual ones. The physical object reappears in moments of consolidation at the new settlement. In the analysis in progress, we hope to answer the question: Do objects and the transformation of public space, build a new chez-soi in the host city? or do they mainly maintain the ties with the home of the original country? Keywords: Migration, identity, city, objects, appropriation of space
Objects from the homeland. Migrants sense of home through their emotional relationship with culturally significant things.
Perla Serfaty-Garzon, University of Strasbourg, France
Souad Larbi Messaoud Rahali, University of Montreal, Canada
Sébastien Lord, University of Montréal, Canada
* Enric Pol I Urrutia, University of Barcelona, Spain
Objects in one’s home embody the interlocking of subjective temporalities and place appropriation. This study offers a phenomenological assessment of migrants’ sense of achieving a personal feeling of being at home in their host country through the examination of their relationship with the culturally significant objects they possess or plan to acquire. Based on 39 semi-directed interviews, it is situated in a narrative space where objects reveal the dynamic stages of the elaboration of home. It elicits the following typology, as exemplified by “typical” statements: 1. “I left my home country with nothing”: regardless of the objects actually carried, the migrants’ reference to leaving their country “empty handed” conveys a sense that the moment of their departure was so meaningful to them that “being” has taken precedence over “possessing”. 2. “I went back home and brought back with me some of the objects I had left behind”: the migrants express a sense of having reached a stage in life when they can openly assume the re-appropriation of things that used to be significant of their “former self”. 3. “I recently bought (or will buy) a number of items from my country”: This statement reveals a stage of feeling comfortable at home in the new country, and a private reconciliation with one’s country of origin. 4. “I have a few things that are around (or don’t display, etc.)”: The objects remain part of the domestic sphere without neither emphasis nor a break with their cultural meaning, revealing that the migrants have attained their feeling of being of home through general efforts of integration. The study point to the importance of the temporal dimensions in the continuities and balancing acts between one’s sense of home in the country of origin and the host country as features that are specific to the migrants’ experience of home.
* Sébastien Lord, University of Montreal, Canada