Migration and the Search for Home intervenes in the developing research field of the ‘migration-home nexus’, in which the intersections between mobility, belonging and attachments to place are explored. Understanding how migration impacts upon experiences of home and belonging is of crucial relevance as societies struggle to meet the needs of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees. In its approach to home as a social setting, a material environment and a relationship with place, this book highlights the broader relevance of home as an analytical approach to migration, as well as revealing how migration shapes understandings of home among societies of departure and destination. The book builds upon established understandings of home as a spatial imaginary and set of practices that are intertwined with power relations (Blunt and Dowling 2006; Brickell 2012). It also draws upon a growing body of scholarship exploring how mobility and forced migration shape ideas and practices of home (Al-Ali and Koser 2002; Ahmed et al. 2003; Ralph and Staehli 2011). The book offers a systematic and wide-ranging study of the spatial, temporal, material and political dimensions of home in the migrant experience, contributing to interdisciplinary studies of home and migration. The opening chapter of Migration and the Search for Home provides a comprehensive and useful review of existing literature on home and establishes the parameters of the home-migration nexus, before proposing the analytical approach of ‘homing’, which encompasses migrants’ views of home based on cultural understandings, emotional experiences of ‘feeling-at-home’ and everyday home-making practices. Chapter 2 provides an overview of existing methodological approaches to migrant home-making, before proposing a number of innovations to enable an in-depth understanding of the spatial, temporal and relational basis of home. Chapters 3 and 4 illuminate the distinctive but interdependent dimensions of space and time in the homing experience. In Chapter 3, the book examines the extent to which meanings and practices of home can be transferred between places. The importance of the physical dwelling in providing a stable foundation for home is clearly articulated, as are the material dimensions of home-making across transnational space, in the form of ‘remittance houses’ built in migrants’ countries of origin. Chapter 4 calls for a ‘time-sensitive optic on migrants’ home experience’ (p. 67). Boccagni effectively argues that a temporal approach to homing not only includes an understanding of how senses of home change over the life course, but also how migrants’ ideas about home are related to the repetition of everyday routines within the dwelling, through which the home becomes connected to other persons and places in the past, present and future. In its final chapter, the book highlights the search for home as a political experience. It examines how home is mobilized as a discursive resource in immigration debates, frequently resulting in the exclusion of those who are regarded as ‘outsiders’. Reflecting a common theme in studies of home in contexts of mobility, the main focus of this book is on international labour migrants who ‘face the need to (re)establish a sense of home on the move, under often disadvantaged life circumstances’ (p. xxiii). While the experiences of international migrants are undoubtedly crucial for investigating how mobility affects experiences of home, in reality many individuals are mobile at different times and to differing extents throughout the life course. Examining how various forms of mobility shape meanings of home even for those not directly impacted by migration would enhance the theoretical potential of the home-migration nexus. Migration and the Search for Home points to interesting tensions between concepts of home as a future-oriented process and the reproduction of the past home (in the country of origin) as the basis for migrants’ homing practices. A particularly original contribution of the book is its attention to home as an aspiration or ‘a partial and unaccomplished achievement’ (p. 3). Yet in the book as a whole, the emphasis on ‘re-establishing’ past homes comes through somewhat more strongly than the idea of home as an ongoing, dynamic process. More could be said about home as a fluid, mobile concept that is continually shifting in response to interpersonal encounters and everyday practices, as well as material conditions and migration journeys. Home can also be experienced in a plurality of settings beyond the dwelling. While the book points to literature on the public and non-domestic spaces in which migrants experience home, these could be further explored. This also relates to the concept of home as intertwined with identity: the process of mobility may lead migrants to question and reconfigure their senses of home and identity, rather than seeking to reproduce the home they have left behind. Migration and the Search for Home does much to broaden and enrich our understandings of the home-migration nexus. While a number of qualitative studies have explored how migrants experience home in diverse ways, many have focused on specific communities or empirical settings. In its multi-faceted approach to the relational, temporal and material dimensions of home, this book provides a major contribution to research across home and migration studies. The book goes beyond mapping theoretical and empirical approaches to migrant homing, providing a useful methodological and conceptual toolkit that will further develop the home-migration nexus as a research field. Conflict of interest statement: None declared. References Ahmed S. , Castaneda C. , Fortier A. M. , Sheller M. B. , eds ( 2003 ) Uprootings/Regroundings: Questions of Home and Migration . Oxford : Berg . Al-Ali N. , Koser K. , eds ( 2002 ) New Approaches to Migration? Transnational Communities and the Transformation of Home . London : Routledge . Blunt A. , Dowling R. ( 2006 ) Home . London : Routledge . Brickell K. ( 2012 ) ‘Geopolitics of Home’ , Geography Compass , 6 / 10 : 575 – 88 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Ralph D. , Staeheli L. A. ( 2011 ) ‘Home and Migration: Mobilities, Belongings and Identities’ , Geography Compass , 5 / 7 : 517 – 30 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Migration Studies – Oxford University Press
Published: Nov 20, 2017
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