'The good life, 'the tough life'. Redistributive justice and the memory of migration
Miguel Javier Aramburu Otazu (University of Barcelona)
Paper short abstract:
The article provides an analysis of a recurrent narrative among the children of Spanish migrants in Catalonia that contrasts the 'good life' in their communities of origin with the 'tough life' in Barcelona, taking into account the memory of migration and views of redistributive justice.
Paper long abstract:
Visits to communities of origin have been analysed as highly ambivalent experiences, given their tendency to elicit simultaneous processes of identification and detachment. Supporting the inclusion of 'internal' and 'international' migrations within the same theoretical discourse, this paper focuses on the narrative that emerges among the sons and daughters of those who immigrated to Catalonia from Southern Spain. Their visits to the communities that their parents left behind provide them with an empirical basis for a recurrent narrative that contrasts the 'good life' in their families' communities of origin (viewed as chronically unproductive areas) with the 'tough life' in Barcelona. This contrast tends to be interpreted as the result of an unfair fiscal balance among regions at the expense of taxpayers in productive areas—a view that is met with widespread validation in the context of the independence movement. In addition to its evident material significance in times of crisis, this narrative achieves particular relevance when it is framed within the role of the memory of migration (which is also the memory of urbanization) in the image that those concerned have of their personal and family trajectory. The contrast between the good life in the village of origin and the tough life in the city runs counter to their self-image (based on the modern notion of progress) as descendants of immigrants who left a life of hardship behind and forged a future for their children which is now jeopardized by an unfair fiscal balance among regions.
Migration and the imaginaries of 'good life' [ANTHROMOB]