Author:Aija Lulle (University of Latvia)
Paper short abstract:
Based on phenomenological geography I study migrant children experiences of temporary emplacements and travel, conceptualising infrastructure both as material and symbolic meshwork.
Paper long abstract:
Like several new European Union's member states Latvia has experienced a wide-scale emigration during the past two decades. However, many migrants continue travelling back to Latvia and for that they use multiple infrastructures that connect distant places. Yet, little is known how children themselves experience their transnational lives and what connections they make to different places.
Based on phenomenological geography and environmental experiences in particular, I study children and family experiences of temporary emplacements and travel, conceptualising infrastructure both as material and symbolic meshwork. I map out, what are significant places and locales, for children (and families) when they travel to and from Latvia and when they temporary stay there, e.g., during summer holidays. Planes, cars, airports, cafes, escalators, farms in homesteads, a local ice-cream kiosk - all these and other infrastructural objects are interwoven into a meshwork of subjectivities of transnational childhood.
The paper is based on a long term ethnographic fieldwork (2012-2014) with Latvian families where parents work in United Kingdom or in Nordic countries and return to Latvia with their children for shorter or longer periods of times. Better understanding of children environmental experiences can lead us to broader theoretical concepts of infrastructure and also to so much needed better informed policies.
The anthropology of infrastructure: ordering people, places, and imaginaries