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Accepted Paper:

Houses as moral categories of kin cooperation and individualization in rural Kosovo  
Carolin Leutloff-Grandits (University of Graz)

Paper short abstract:

With respect to the role of migrants, the paper discusses houses as moral categories of kin cooperation and individualization in rural Kosovo.

Paper long abstract:

In Albanian language, the term shtepia can be used for the house, the household, and the family. In rural Kosovo, care has been traditionally provided within a patrilocal, complex household, often financed by male labour migrants. From the 1990s on, with changing migration regimes and the resettlement of women and children abroad, nuclearization processes unfolded. Still, various migrants hold on to the idea of a complex, patrilocal village household and finance the building of a joint house with their brother(s) or sons. Other migrants are eager to create nuclear housing units for themselves and their brothers, which serve as signifiers of "same-ness". In this line, there are rows of three, four or even five equal houses throughout Kosovo that have been built after the war. Again other migrants left the kinship union and built a nuclear house for themselves.

In this paper, I want to discuss the different ways migrants invest in housing and link this to practices and imaginations of houses as units of care, security and responsibility, but also to symbolic dimensions of belonging, identity and family. I want to argue that the different ways of house building depend on various factors like the position of migrants in the village and abroad and the need of family members. They always express a moral perspective on quite conflicting ideas of cooperation or individualization, as well as diverging future visions.

Panel P006
The government of the house, 'life' and 'the good life'
  Session 1