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Accepted paper:

On Sitars, music and the temporal horizons of homing practices


Antonie Fuhse (Georg-August-University Göttingen)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper, I focus on music as homing practice and the ability of instruments to forge palpable connections. I ask how musical instruments help to navigate lives characterized by temporary migration and how people's temporal horizons affect their homing practices.

Paper long abstract:

For scientists and academics international mobility has evolved into an integral part of career development. In this paper I ask how objects like musical instruments help to navigate lives that are characterized by temporary migration and short term mobilities. My findings are based on an explorative study, which I developed out of my Ph.D. research on Indian postgraduates in Germany. Many of my interlocutors establish leisure activities, like singing, dancing, music-making and playing cricket in their busy schedules. These practices involve objects like the Sitar. I concentrate on two interconnected capacities of these objects: 1) Their ability to forge "palpable connections" (Povrzanović Frykman and Humbracht 2013) to people and places and thus their ability to establish continuities in mobile lives (Povrzanović Frykman 2016). 2) I focus on the objects' connections to music as "homing practice" (Boccagni 2017; Abels 2019). I argue that focusing on music can unfold a specific perspective on the environmental, emotional and relational factors (Boccagni 2017) that shape experiences of home. Music offers a look into the interactive aspects of homing since it often involves activities that are conducted collectively as in the case of rehearsals and performances. As my data evolved out of a study with young academics in Germany that often do not plan to stay permanently, I will also ask how the knowledge of being somewhere temporary affects people's homing practices.

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