Crossroads of wellbeing: divergent paths in migrants' journeys in Brazil
Paper short abstract:
In following the lives of two migrant women in the city of São Paulo, two different processes of claiming wellbeing are elicited, disturbing notions such as ethnicity, freedom, rights and citizenship, and overlapping senses of wellbeing as necessity, fantasy and/or utopia.
Paper long abstract:
The city of São Paulo, in Brazil, embodies the density of more than 11 million people living together. In its precarities, disjunctions and immensity, people are able to lead very divergent lives from each other. In following the lives of two migrant women, one born in China and the other, in Bolivia, two different journeys in search of wellbeing were enacted. One of them believed in wellbeing as access to public services of a European welfare state model, which she could not have in her country of origin, China, or in Brazil. In order to reach what she herself called the 'good life', she regarded nationality as a matter of bureaucratic procedures that were possible to be manipulated in the name of an envisaged future in a country of historic welfare standard, considering Brazil a provisional platform for it. On the other hand, the other migrant trajectory advocated wellbeing as the right of migrant women to have access to good quality public services in Brazil, organising this claim within the social movements' realm in São Paulo, and requiring changes in public service. However, in order to make herself a public figure in the local politics, she resorted to a constrained notion of ethnic identity. In looking closely to both cases, this paper intends to raise considerations on disturbed notions of ethnicity, freedom, rights and citizenship, and on overlapping senses of wellbeing as necessity, fantasy and/or utopia.
Mobilities of wellbeing