Migration and the imaginaries of 'good life' [ANTHROMOB]
Anna Horolets (University of Warsaw)
Unnur Dís Skaptadóttir (University of Iceland)
Valerio Simoni (The Graduate Institute, Geneva)
Horsal 5 (B5)
Wednesday 15 August, 9:00-10:45, 11:15-13:00 (UTC+0)

Short abstract:

We invite paper proposals that consider migration as a moral practice, focus on the relation between mobility and migrants' imaginaries of 'good life' in any stage, context or type of migratory situation, and discuss how the ideas of what is 'good' are informed by mobility in contemporary societies.

Long abstract:

In commonplace understandings of migratory motivations, migration is often seen as driven by a quest for 'better life'. Taken literally, the underlying assumption here is that migrants have an idea of what 'good life' (Fischer 2014) is, and that migration for them is a means to achieve it.

Our aim is to critically scrutinize this assumption and seek ethnographically based answers to the following questions:

(1) how migrants define 'good life',

(2) what are the convergences, tensions, and conflicts between ideas of 'good life' and mobility,

(3) how do understandings of 'good life' change overtime and across contexts as a part of migratory experience.

We suggest to explore how ideas of 'good life' shape migration projects and practices, how imaginaries of 'good life' resulting from mobility and transnational livelihoods converge or diverge with previously held ones, and what are the results of having to deal with a range of competing notions of what good living may entail (cf. Gardner 2015). Of particular interest is how micro-narratives of self and imaginaries of personal happiness and well-being are supported by, opposed to, or negotiated with the top-down 'grand' narratives of family, state, religion, market, ecology and the like - in any stage, context or type of migratory situation, i.e. when 'staying, moving, settling.'

This will hopefully lead to a better understanding of the bottom-up workings of 'moral regimes' (or 'moral economies', Simoni 2016) in migratory situations, while simultaneously critically reflecting on 'anthropology of the good' (Robbins 2013; cf. Ortner 2016).