Mobility, Belonging and Home-making. The Transient Homes of Globally Mobile Professionals
Bielefeld University, Germany
Today, mobility and transience have become a constitutive pattern of the highly skilled postmodern workforce. Yet, how mobile professionals negotiate the meaning of their homes and their sense of belonging in ‘liquid times’ (Bauman 2007) is still an underresearched research question. The purpose of this paper—based on ethnographic research on German and American expatriate managers conducted in China, Germany and the US—is thus to contribute to this research desideratum by examining how mobile professionals make sense of the transience of their current homes, how transience is reflected in their home-making practices, and how they use symbolic objects to create a sense of belonging to the various places in their mobile careers. It thus explores the relationship between home, mobility and everyday cosmopolitanism. The paper argues that for mobile professionals the home becomes a critical place where belonging is constantly negotiated not only because of new multi-local spatialities but also because of new transient temporalities. Due to the practice of extended work contracts, the everyday life of the mobile managers is characterised by a ‘permanent provisionality’, that is an incongruence of the initially imagined and the actual time horizons of their mobility. The paper shows how this ‘permanent provisionality’ is worked into the material and social textures of expatriate homes. ‘Permanent provisionality’ produces homes without emotional attachments (evacuation homes), homes which are only references to true, but distant homes (nostalgic homes), homes celebrating their transience (flexible homes), and homes that frantically try to ignore their transience (local homes). The 'transient home' thus oscillates between celebrating and avoiding cultural difference, between mobility and immobility. It is a materialisation of the paradoxes of practiced elite cosmopolitanism.
Moving Attachments? How One-off, Repeat And Multiple Migrants in Europe Relate To Places
University of Warsaw, Poland
The implications of mobility for place attachment have been given increased attention in the last decades. However, the question how different mobility patterns affect place attachments has so far not been investigated, even though migration scholars have recognised that people may maintain attachments to multiple places. In this paper, we examine how diverse mobility patterns affect attachments to places in the countries of origin and of destination, focusing on migrants in Europe.
We distinguish between one off migrants (who migrated only once), repeat migrants (who migrated at least twice to the same destination country) and multiple migrants (who migrated at least twice to different destinations). We expect that these groups of migrants relate to places differently, including cities and countries of origin, cities and countries of destination and the European Union.
We analyse data from the European Internal Movers Social Survey (EIMSS), based on questionnaires with British, French, German, Italian and Spanish migrants residing in these destination countries. The total sample amounted to 5,000 participants. We find that multiple movers are less attached to their cities and countries of origin than one off migrants, but are more strongly attached to the European Union. Repeat migrants do not significantly differ from one-off migrants in the levels of their attachments to the country of origin or country of destination. Altogether, these results suggest that not only being mobile itself but also multiple spatialities of mobilities matter for the strength of attachment among migrants. The implications of these results will be discussed.
Types of Labour Migration: Settlers, Circulars or Searchers? The Characteristics of Latvian Labour Migration Patterns
Univeristy of Latvia, Latvia
The 2004 EU extension and migration flows within Europe have fostered debates about CEE migrants’ intentions to settle or return to their countries of origin, and their attachment to the destination country and attachment to the country of origin. Based on a quantitative analysis of survey data (N=6209), this article presents a typology of labour migration patterns among migrants from Latvia. The statistical analysis of the data had several sequential steps. A factor analysis was used for finding out two factors that measure two underlining dimensions: attachment to the host country and attachment to the country of origin. K-Means cluster analysis was used to derive four patterns of labour migration: (1) bi-nationals, (2) settlers, (3) the footloose, and (4) circulars. The method of binary logistic regression analysis was used for exploring characteristics of those belonging to particular patterns of labour migration. Data analysis confirms that theoretical assumptions about migrations patterns are relevant in the case of Latvian migrants. This article enhances an understanding of the characteristics of Latvian labour migration patterns and the characteristics of individuals in each category. The results of the study indicate that if compared with migration patterns of Polish, Romanian, and Bulgarian migrants in the Netherlands, the main trends among Latvian migrants are quite similar.
Keywords: Labour Migration; Latvia; Transnationalism; Integration; Central and Eastern Europe
Carceral Junctions: Boundaries, Barriers and Belonging in Danish “Departure Centres” for Refused Asylum Seekers
1Vive - the Danish Centre for Social Science Research, Denmark; 2Centre for Advanced Migration Studies (AMIS), University of Copenhagen
The two Danish ’departure centers’ represent a new type of control in relation to migrant mobility. The aim of these centers are to motivate refused asylum seekers to go “home” by segregating them in remote locations without access to money, loved ones or meaningful activities. According to the Danish authorities, it is safe for them to return to their home countries. However, very few asylum seekers have gone “home”. The paper uses data from participant observation and qualitative interviews with asylum seekers in departure centers, and apply a narrative approach to explore their accounts of boundaries, barriers and belonging to understand why some leave and some stay. According to the participants, their home countries are not safe, nor necessarily are they where they belong. They are immobilized by Denmark’s refusal of their asylum claim, their fear of returning home, and the registration of their fingerprints (the Dublin regulation). Many refused asylum seekers decide to go elsewhere in Europe, hoping to obtain a residence permit or a good undocumented life. Others do not. Those who stay may have close family members in Denmark, have children who they think belong in Denmark, or they are reluctant to start over in a new country after spending years paving their way into Denmark by studying Danish, forming social bonds and courting the immigration authorities. In spite of many barriers, some refused asylum seekers manage to learn Danish, adapt to Danish culture, and to uphold and create social relations. Through political protests and social media appeals, they succeed in practicing a strained claim of belonging in Denmark.