Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Remaking Home

Remaking Home: Reconstructing Life, Place and Identity in Rome and Amsterdam

Maja Korac
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 196
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Remaking Home
    Book Description:

    Rather than emphasising boundaries and territories by examining the 'integration' and 'acculturation' of the immigrant or the refugee, this book offers insights into the ideas and practices of individuals settling into new societies and cultures. It analyses their ideas of connecting and belonging; their accounts of the past, the present and the future; the interaction and networks of relations; practical strategies; and the different meanings of 'home' and belonging that are constructed in new sociocultural settings. The author uses empirical research to explore the experiences of refugees from the successor states of Yugoslavia, who are struggling to make a home for themselves in Amsterdam and Rome. By explaining how real people navigate through the difficulties of their displacement as well as the numerous scenarios and barriers to their emplacement, the author sheds new light on our understanding of what it is like to be a refugee.

    eISBN: 978-1-84545-956-7
    Subjects: Anthropology, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction: Reconstructing Life, Place and Identity
    (pp. 1-24)

    This book focuses on the process of reconstructing life, place and identity. It examines how refugees, understood as social actors, make and remake their lives in new sociocultural environments. In this book, I explore the lived-in worlds of refugees by focusing on the different types of connection, emerging forms of interaction, and networks of social relations through which they forge a place for themselves in a new society, create meaning and form attachments. Discussion in this book is embedded in the understanding that a sense of place is developed through various forms of social relations and tied through the interaction...

  5. 1 The Question of ‘Home’: Place-making and Emplacement
    (pp. 25-43)

    Negotiating entry into a new society as well as the adjustment to unfamiliar sociocultural settings and their structures is an integral part of refugee experiences. It involves a struggle to overcome or bypass the lack of rights and access, as well as a process of functional, cognitive, and value-based finetuning. It also leads to shifts in skills, knowledge, attitudes, world views as well as identities.

    The process of negotiating entry is about the right to establish a ‘home’ in the receiving society, while negotiation of the series of changes and adjustments mentioned is about the process of creating a ‘home’...

  6. 2 Experiences of Displacement: Force, Choice and the Creation of Solutions
    (pp. 44-60)

    Decision to flee one’s place of origin is always made in specific social, political and historical contexts in which individuals or groups feel their lives and well-being are threatened. The negotiation of elements of force and choice informing these decisions or those linked to deciding about secondary migration should be regarded as fundamental to our very understanding of the refugee and refugeehood. Understood as agents or ‘purposive actors’ (Turton 2003), refugees come to be seen as actively creating solutions to their problematic situation, negotiating elements of force and choice embedded in their predicament. And very importantly, in creating solutions individual...

  7. 3 Regaining Control Over Life: Dependency, Self-sufficiency and Agency
    (pp. 61-93)

    After being forced into decisions to leave their homes, the people I met were eager to regain some sense of normality in their lives. This was the recurring theme and the common thread running through their narratives and the goal which was driving and shaping their actions. During the early stages of their journeys the desire to have a normal life again meant first and foremost a search for safety and a place in which they could start regaining control over their lives. Their narratives reveal how they actively sought ways to legalise their status as well as to overcome...

  8. 4 Negotiating Continuity and Change: The Process of Recontructing Life
    (pp. 94-118)

    Negotiation between continuity and change shapes the process of reconstructing life in a new society and is central to emplacement. A complex set of contexts and variables characterising individual refugees or their specific groups determine how refugees negotiate the issue of continuity and change, how they aim to ‘nest’ themselves, and what type of place-making strategies they devise. central to the process of reconstructing life and negotiation between continuity and change, as discussed in Chapter 1, are webs of interpersonal relationships established at different levels of societal communication. Different types of social networks and links, those within and outside ethnic...

  9. 5 Transnational Lives of Refugees, Questions of Citizenship, Belonging and Return
    (pp. 119-142)

    Researchers are increasingly turning their attention to practices, processes and institutions through which refugees seek to reestablish their lives across national borders, linking societies of origin and reception in a variety of ways: economic, social/familial, political, and cultural/symbolic. In this sense, sustained social contacts spanning borders (Portes et al.1999) are just one expression or form of transnationalism. They can also be an avenue of capital, a mode of cultural reproduction, a type of conciousness, a site of political engagement, as well as a reconstruction of place and locality (Vertovec 1999). With respect to the latter expression of transnationalism, it is...

  10. Appendix 1 Refugees Interviewed in Rome and Amsterdam
    (pp. 143-149)
  11. Appendix 2 Community Organisations of Nationals from the Yugoslav Successor States in Rome and Amsterdam
    (pp. 150-150)
  12. Appendix 3 Contacts Made with NGOs, Church Organisations, Governmental and International Organisations in Italy and the Netherlands
    (pp. 151-154)
  13. Appendix 4 The Social Characteristics and Legal Status of the Refugees in Rome and Amsterdam
    (pp. 155-158)
  14. Appendix 5 The Ethnic Background of the Refugees Interviewed
    (pp. 159-160)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 161-172)
  16. Index
    (pp. 173-186)