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Accepted Paper:

Transits. Contemporary circulations of people and things  


Marta Vilar Rosales (Instituto de Ciências Sociais)

Paper short abstract:

Based on ethnographic research carried out in Berlin, Lisbon, Luanda and Sidney, this paper addresses the positioning strategies of migrant families through the lens of material culture. the paper argues that things hold great potencial to (re)create and/or reproduce identity and belonging.

Paper long abstract:

The relationship between people and objects is today, as in the past, a significant site for identity making and negotiating. As anthropology and archaeology have showed us, things are not just tools to understand the original aspects of each culture, but also means to produce collective life, identity and social relationships. Objects hold a great potential to express relations of power, alliance, submission, respect, and are, therefore, key to objectify and stabilise identity and position, has well as to regulate social life.

Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork carried out in four cities (Berlin, Lisbon, Luanda and Sidney) with diverse present-day migrant communities, this paper aims contributing to the debate about the impacts of movement and displacement in people and their things, as well as the significance of materiality as setting for the production, negotiation and stabilization of social identity. By examining migrant's daily material culture and consumption practices, as well as their aspirations, positioning strategies and networks of belonging, the paper will address the following questions: does movement affect the value, significance and use of stuff brought/sent from home? To what extent are migrant private and public consumption practices submitted to scrutiny and which strategies structure these processes? How does one deal with a new material reality?

Panel P105
The Materiality of Migration: From 'bare necessities' to 'promising things' [ANTHROMOB]