Accepted Papers:

Unforeseen happiness. Migration narratives of Luxembourgish cross border dwellers  

Author:

Elisabeth Boesen (Université du Luxembourg)

Paper Short Abstract:

Residential migrants in German border villages to Luxembourg may experience migration as a largely unintentional transformation. In order to capture the complexity of processes of migration and place making we have to understand the temporalities of multiple and intersecting memories.

Paper long abstract:

For the growing number of Luxembourgish nationals who take up residence in the German border zone to Luxembourg, the move across the national border is motivated by the search for greater residential satisfaction, reflecting thus differing developments in the real estate market on both sides of the border. Apart from this particular aspect of good life, the individuals and families in question do not expect more general changes in their living conditions or better opportunities.

Some scholars maintain that it is mistaken to conceive of this type of mobility as migration (cf. Kaufmann 1999). Based on the results of an empirical study in several German border villages, it is argued, however, that many of the new border-landers turn into migrants by gradually developing a sense of better life in the new place of residence or, to put it differently, by narrating their - unforeseen - happiness.

Furthermore, the Luxembourg example, which turns, in a sense, common migration settings upside down by showing migrants who leave a place that is, in all other respects, one of affluence, allows for a more complete view on the ways of experiencing and narrating migration. Apart from accounts of the conscious pursuit of betterment, migration can also be presented as a largely unintentional conversion or transformation. This leads to the more general question of the importance of memories and the different temporalities of intersecting memories in the process of migration and place making.

Panel P161
Complexities of mobility: beyond the binaries of lifestyle v. economic migration