Materijalne prakse bivanja i pripadanja u transnacionalnim društvenim prostorima

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Materijalne prakse bivanja i pripadanja u transnacionalnim društvenim prostorima

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Publication Article, peer reviewed scientific
Title Materijalne prakse bivanja i pripadanja u transnacionalnim društvenim prostorima
Author(s) Povrzanovic Frykman, Maja
Date 2010
English abstract
MATERIAL PRACTICES OF BEING AND BELONGING IN TRANSNATIONAL SOCIAL FIELDS The claims to and representations of (usually ethnic) belonging may be detached from the ways in which migrants fashion their transnational social fields. Ethnographic insights into migrants’ personal relations achieved through objects, and their involvement in social networks proved through objects, can open up new avenues of understanding and contribute to the creation of new conceptual lenses in studies of migration. This paper proposes a shift of focus from material representations of social relations to how objects are carried around, sent, received, used or struggled with in transnational contexts of migration. Along with the ideas and discourses of identity, belonging and integration that dominate research, the suggestion is that practices and lived experiences involving the objects through which migrants accomplish incorporation in different locations should also be investigated. The paper thus argues in favour of an ethnographic research that focuses on objects that not only constitute people’s material worlds, but that also, via their transnational routes, destabilise the notions of ‘rooted’ cultures and localised communities to which they ‘belong’. Following these routes can afford insights into the construction of boundaries that may have little to do with the legal inclusions and exclusions in a certain territory. Furthermore, it could contribute to a rethinking and reformulation of the concept of society as being equated with the borders of a single nation-state – a theoretical priority of studies of transnational migration. The oneness (or continuity) of transnational social fields experienced by migrants can be exemplified by following the objects. Material aspects of simultaneity imply that the places of emigration (and of regular or sporadic return) must also be observed if an experience-oriented understanding, grounded in insiders’ acts and perceptions, is to be attempted. Whether materialised in or conditioned by objects, personal and group connections to other places and other cultural practices provide people with a sense of continuity and signal their incorporation in social fields that encompass more than one place in more than one state. There is also an ethical dimension to research that promotes insights into those basic material issues that define human lives in realms considered to be of the utmost personal and emotional importance and at the same time so mundane and common. Learning about what people do and why, their motivation, practices and lived experiences with regard to domestic spheres and connections to those who are socially close and emotionally important yet live in other countries, could pave the way to a deeper understanding and recognition of shared human concerns – ethnicities, cultures and states in spite.
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Publisher Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb
Host/Issue Studia ethnologica Croatica;1
Volume 22
ISSN 1330-3627
Pages 39-60
Language other (iso)
Subject(s) migrants
transnational social spaces
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Social anthropology/ethnography
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