The sensations of arriving and settling in a city: young Finnish rural out-migrants' experiences with moving from the countryside to Helsinki
(University of Helsinki)
Paper short abstract:
There have been repeated calls for an inclusion of affect as a perspective on rural-urban migration. This presentation follows these calls and explores the feelings and sensations young rural out-migrants in Finland experience, while moving to and settling in the city.
Paper long abstract:
The youth researchers David Farrugia, John Smyth, and Tim Harrison have recently argued that neglecting affect in the study of rural young people's mobilities would make it impossible to fully understand this phenomenon (2015: 118). Following this impulse, I aim to explore the affects emerging in contemporary out-migration from Kainuu, a remote region in the Northeast of Finland. Sensations, feelings, and emotions have repeatedly been a subject, when my informants recounted their experiences with moving from Kainuu to Helsinki, and of settling in the city. Their narrations were rooted in dichotomous conceptualizations contrasting a rural idyll with the buzzing metropolis, but also went beyond them and towards affects in highlighting the sensations and feelings that have been emerging in their engagements with those spaces. Therefore, analyzing the relationship of affect and space in the context of rural-urban migration may show facets of the process of arriving and settling in urban spaces that have been overlooked so far. Here, the initial discomfort they experienced in Helsinki and their subsequent efforts of adapting to the city are analyzed as a re-shaping of subjectivities, which ultimately leads to them slowly getting in tune with the rhythms of their new urban living environment.
Moving from, moving to, moving in the countryside: ethnographic perspectives on rural mobilities [SIEF panel]