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Session Overview
RN35_09c: Concepts of Belonging in Migration Contexts
Friday, 23/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Janine Dahinden, University of Neuchâtel
Location: BS.G.33
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Ground Floor Oxford Road

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Passing, Being Liminal, and Belonging in Longitudinal and Current Migration Perspectives

Pat Cox

University of Central Lancashire, United Kingdom

In this paper the author examines some multiple forms of belonging, in both longitudinal migration perspective, and currently. For ESA conference, ‘belonging’ is a ‘contested idea … created and re-created in communities of necessity and choice’. The author asserts that belonging is also multiple, hybrid, ‘lived experiences’.

She notes that there is little acknowledgement that existing societies were transformed by, and are comprised of, descendants of earlier-arriving migrant peoples. She questions why, despite the near-universality of migration, there is (apparently) limited recognition that we sociological researchers also are migrant peoples or are their descendants. Issues of intersectionality (including ‘race’, ethnicity, gender, religious belief, sexuality, age and class background) impact upon our forebears’ and our own experiences of belonging. It thus becomes possible to challenge the received wisdom of research as disembodied and disengaged.

Much research into migration and belonging elides the experiences of second, third and later generations. Examining belonging in longitudinal perspective requires addressing this lacuna, and exploring how ‘private lives and public knowledge’ intersect. Individual and family biographies (private lives) illustrate theoretical (public) knowledge. Theories improve understandings of experiences of belonging within private lives, linking global and local sociological knowledges.

Drawing from work by Gilroy and by Hall on identities; by Mergner on ambivalence; accounts from first and second generation writers who are migrant peoples and from inter-generational family experiences, the author explores and examines some ongoing processes and experiences of belonging in migration contexts.

Concepts of Belonging in the Narratives of ‘Multiple’ Migrants

Aleksandra Winiarska1, Justyna Salamońska1, Marta Kluszczyńska1,2

1University of Warsaw, Poland; 2Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland

The aim of our paper is to explore different concepts of belonging through the perspective of multiple migration. Taking into account the increasing international movement of people and expanding transnational practices, researchers pose significant questions concerning identity-building, integrative and ‘anchoring’ practices, attachment to place and feeling at home. These questions prove valid when it comes to the experience of ‘multiple’ migrants – individuals who repeatedly engage in transnational mobility, to different destinations and for varying periods of stay. We will analyse their narratives in the search for constructs of belonging as well as emotional, social and practical attachment to various places and spaces. Our focus will be especially on how the idea of home and place of belonging is constructed.

The presented analysis will be based on mixed-methods data coming from the on-going research project ‘In search of a theory of multiple migration. A quantitative and qualitative study of Polish migrants after 1989’ at the Centre of Migration Research, University of Warsaw, where we are attempting to research multiple migration of Poles all over the world through an online survey and a qualitative longitudinal study. Survey data will shed light on where the migrants identify their sense of home. Qualitative interviews (from the first wave of the study) will provide a more in-depth understanding on how belonging is constructed over the course of mobile lives.

Who Belongs to Us? 'Politics of Belonging' Before, During and After the 'Refugee Crisis' in Germany and Their Interplay With Anti-Immigrant-Attitudes

Madlen Preuß1,2, Andreas Zick2

1University of Applied Science Bielefeld; 2Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence, Bielefeld University

The public discourse on migration in Germany is significantly influenced by concepts of belonging, i.e. the question who is part of society and which criteria so-called newcomers have to meet. Since summer 2015, when Germany ‘opened’ its borders, old concepts of national identity seem to dominate the discourse anew. The politicization of corresponding parameters of belonging like religion, economic status or loyalties as (il-)legitimate markers for the community of belonging has been highly contested ever since (Yuval-Davis 2006; Wimmer 2008).

By data of a cross-sectional surveys from 2014 (n = 2.009), 2016 (n = 1.300) and 2018 (n = 2.008) we try to understand the link between different politics of belonging and their varying influences for anti-immigrant attitudes. The study focuses the German population’s criteria which have to be fulfilled in order to belong to the German society. With the help of latent class analyses the dominant politics of belonging were calculated to show the shifts and varying class sizes over the years - and thus for the time before, during and after the strong refugee movements to Germany. Secondly, we test a SEM of these politics toward the rejection of four migrant groups. First results have shown three dominant politics of belonging – (1) strict-exclusive, (2) liberal and achievement-related, and (3) open-inclusive – are given but differ enormously in their size over the years. Furthermore, the interplay with the anti-immigrant-attitudes shows that the salience of the different migrant groups for the different politics also varies greatly across the years.

Mono-, Bi- or Transcultural? Reflection of Identity Constructions of International Mobiles.

Jean Philippe Décieux

University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

International mobile persons usually live in multicultural contexts and have frequent opportunities for cultural contact. They live for example in mixed-national households or interact with different cultures in their everyday live. An interesting question is how they organize and experience their nationalities, identities and feelings of belongings and how these develop over time.

Based on data from the first two waves of the new and unique German Emigration and Remigration Panel Study (GERPS) the paper tries to answer the following questions: How are the identities and belongings experienced? Do they self-identify in a mono- or bi or transcultural way, and what factors (sociodemographic, personality) contribute to either identification?

GERPS will provide information on approximately 11.000 international mobile individuals which have recently emigrated from Germany to any other country in the world or recently re-migrated to Germany. As GERPS is a panel study, I will be able to present first results concerning developments and changes over time, which is important as modern theories reflect identity and cultural construction as dynamic negotiation processes.

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