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Accepted Paper:

Sensing belonging. Migrants’ out-of-place and home-making practices in the city through the senses  
Diana Mata Codesal (University of Barcelona)

Paper short abstract:

How does it feel to belong? What can the sensuousness involved in the experience of home and belonging tell us about differentiation mechanisms towards and home-making practices of groups marked by their mobility?

Paper long abstract:

Urban common sensing is constructed and negotiated among different groups. Sensory experience lived as a “background experience” (Ahmed 2007), become disrupted by the arrival and presence of some bodies who are constructed as socially noticeable and subject to scrutiny and discipline. The sensorial stimuli attached to certain corporeal presences come to the front. Particular expressions of it became in dispute, used as input for bordering practices among groups who share a spatial everyday life (Lamont and Molnár 2002). When the presence or activities associated with some migrant groups or ethnic minorities are labelled as “smelly” or “disgusting”, those carrying the labelling are asserting their right to establish what is proper or improper common sensing. This constitutes an attempt to standardize embodied sensing that can lead to exclusionary forms of “sensory citizenship” (Trnka et al. 2013: 1).

Simultaneously, by focusing on those groups whose embodied presence is signalled as “out of place”, a phenomenological approach can also help us to explore the sensuousness involved in the experience of belonging, i.e. becoming part of a place common sensing. To be at home, to belong, is to feel comfortable, to be at ease with one’s surroundings (Ahmed 2007: 158). The sensorial change that migration brings about interrupts bodily inertia by confronting migrants’ bodies with different sensescapes and sensorial regimes. The experience of making oneself at home by migrants and other mobile populations involves the establishment –or conscious maintenance- of a “sensuous habitus” (Wacquant 2005), as a series of ingrained body predispositions and practices.

Panel P093a
Sensory Commons as Transformative Spaces I
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -