Migration, culture and identity construction
Anna Horolets (University of Warsaw)
Movement, Mobility, and Migration
University Place 6.205
Wednesday 7 August, 9:00-10:00, 14:00-15:00 (UTC+0)

Short abstract:

The proposed panel will embark on the role of migration in creation of translocal cultural space, pointing to various cultural processes within multicultural societies. More specifically, it will discuss the role of ethnic identities nowadays crucial for understanding of these processes.

Long abstract:

Contemporary world is often described as in flux and individual's life in the postmodern era is fragmented. With increased mobility, individuals are no longer constrained to a single nation state and often subject to travel and translocality. Ambiguity and in-betweenness are prevalent elements in the lives of those who are on the move. One way of considering translocality is to look at the process of migration. On their migration pathways, individuals find themselves in an unknown socio-cultural millieu, which is different from the one they are accustomed to. In the receiving community, they interact with the members of other cultures/ nationalities, whether of the majority group or other ethnic minorities. This leads to various cultural processes. Firstly, in order to reinforce the boundaries between themselves and other ethnic groups, migrants may retain heir cultural practices. Secondly, migrants may find themselves exposed to the constant bombardment by elements of other cultures, resulting in formation of hybrid forms. At the same time with free-wheeling cosmopolitanism and creation of shallow and homogenized cultural spaces (Smith 1990), migrants may feel cultureless. In such a context, the question arises what is the role of ethnic identities nowadays? Can one claim that an ethnic identity offers a sort of protective shield for an individual, who is located in a translocal cultural space'? Also, what is the role of identities on different regional levels, such as local identities, European identities, cosmopolitan identities?