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Being Human, Being Migrant

Being Human, Being Migrant: Senses of Self and Well-Being

Edited by Anne Sigfrid Grønseth
Series: EASA Series
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 184
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  • Book Info
    Being Human, Being Migrant
    Book Description:

    Migrant experiences accentuate general aspects of the human condition. Therefore, this volume explores migrant's movements not only as geographical movements from here to there but also as movements that constitute an embodied, cognitive, and existential experience of living "in between" or on the "borderlands" between differently figured life-worlds. Focusing on memories, nostalgia, the here-and-now social experiences of daily living, and the hopes and dreams for the future, the volume demonstrates how all interact in migrants' and refugees' experience of identity and quest for well-being.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-046-7
    Subjects: Sociology, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Anne Sigfrid Grønseth
  4. Introduction Being Human, Being Migrant: Senses of Self and Well-Being
    (pp. 1-26)
    Anne Sigfrid Grønseth

    This volume is as much about being human as it is about being a migrant. It takes as its starting point the proposition that migrant experiences tell us about the human condition, on the basis that our multi-sensorial perceptions and experiences of well-being, self, other and humanity are challenged when people move between shifting social and cultural contexts. Our contemporary world is characterized by an increasing degree of movement that highlights how societies and cultural units are never separate but overlapping, rapidly changing and engaged in repeated processes of fission and fusion (Gellner 1994). Migrants, being people who move between...

  5. Chapter 1 Fantasy, Subjectivity and Vulnerability through the Story of a Woman Asylum Seeker in Italy
    (pp. 27-45)
    Barbara Pinelli

    In 2006 when I first met Rolanda, a Togolese woman who arrived in Italy in 2002 seeking political asylum, she had just been denied asylum and granted instead a humanitarian residence permit after four long years of waiting She reached Italy alone; her husband, a political opponent of the Togolese government, had escaped to France one year before and their three-year old daughter had been left in the care of her mother. At the time of our meeting, after having spent nearly three years in four reception centres for asylum seekers, Rolanda had left Milan assistance circuits and was sharing...

  6. Chapter 2 Negotiating the Past, Imagining a Future: Exploring Tamil Refugees’ Sense of Identity and Agency
    (pp. 46-67)
    Anne Sigfrid Grønseth

    This chapter takes as its starting point a follow-up study carried out among Tamil refugees who have moved from the northernmost Arctic coast of Norway to the capital of Oslo in the south. It focuses on how everyday transnational relations and diasporic challenges have an effect upon illness, well-being and identity as these are related to tensions in continuity and change. These tensions are approached analytically using the concepts of embodiment and ‘being-in-the-world’ (Bourdieu 1989; Merleau-Ponty 1962 [1945]; Csordas 1994; Jackson 1989), which, I suggest, provide avenues for a study of linkages between memories of the past and future visions...

  7. Chapter 3 Narrating Mobile Belonging: A Dutch Story of Subjectivity in Transformation
    (pp. 68-92)
    Maruška Svašek

    ((The recording equipment is set up – 23 seconds))

    M: OK. So let’s start the interview. So I just told you the idea is to – erm – // you were just going to tell me about the story of your life and how you became the person whom you are today/. And /ehm/ I’m not going to interrupt you and you can just start, probably – eh – , with your very first memory.

    A: – Mmh mmh –]]

    M: And then just continue as you like.]]

    A: Yes.

    M: Yeah?

    A: OK.

    M: And if there’s any, you know, if you’re, sometimes if there’s...

  8. Chapter 4 Well-Being and the Implication of Embodied Memory: From the Diary of a Migrant Woman
    (pp. 93-115)
    Naoko Maehara

    This chapter focuses on the memories, perceptions and emotional processes of a Japanese migrant woman called Naomi¹ who migrated to Ireland in October 2006 when she was in her late forties. She grew up in the south of Japan, went to university in Tokyo for five years, and lived in two or three other cities before migrating to Ireland with her Irish husband and three children. I met her for the first time at a dinner party in the spring of 2007.Since then, we have spent some time together at different social occasions; at friendship gatherings, where we met other...

  9. Chapter 5 Towards a ‘Re-envisioning of the Everyday’ in Refugee Studies
    (pp. 116-138)
    Christina Georgiadou

    What is the value of bringing to light and studying individual cases of refugees who are creatively trying to cope with the conditions of their lives? What kind of new insights can anthropological occupation with individual lives generate in a discursive space already overcrowded by journalistic, literary, political, and academic representations of refugees? According to Marcus (1998: 197), ‘modernist (or postmodernist) ethnography is supremely aware that it operates in a complex matrix of already existing alternative representations’. It is a challenge, thus, for ethnography to address existing representations of forced migration in a critical manner.

    There are at least two...

  10. Chapter 6 Behind the Iron Fence: (Dis)placing Boundaries, Initiating Silences
    (pp. 139-151)
    Maša Mikola

    Ljubljana Asylum Home, or Azilni dom as it is officially called, is operated by the Slovenian Interior Ministry, and asylum seekers who ask for international protection in Slovenia are required to live there while their applications are being processed. This Home was moved from an inner suburb of Ljubljana to the very fringe of the city in 2004. With this move, basic living conditions for asylum seekers improved, but the sense of distance and displacement increased.

    This chapter discusses ‘otherizing’ as a spatial process and examines the contradictory nature of the concept of home. I talk about the body of...

  11. Epilogue A Migrant or Circuitous Sensibility
    (pp. 152-160)
    Nigel Rapport

    The tensions in migrant experience which the chapters in this collection evince are ones commonly noted: between opportunity and exclusion; between senses of becoming and achievement on the one hand, and loss and regret on the other. The tensions appear to be a constant of the contemporary world. As John Berger (1984: 55) has phrased it, market forces, ideological conflicts and environmental change now uproot such a large number of people that migration can more and more be portrayed as ‘ the quintessential experience’ of the age. Exile, emigration, banishment, labour migrancy, tourism, urbanization and counter-urbanization are the central motifs...

  12. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 161-162)
  13. Index
    (pp. 163-176)