Accepted Paper:

Home, continuity in highly mobile life-worlds  


Bernardo Figueiredo (University of Southern Denmark)

Paper short abstract:

I engage with assemblages as a way of promoting a different ontology for the concept of home; one that deconstructs unity, while highlighting continuity. I use the mobility of skilled workers as my grounding context for an empirically founded understanding of home in high mobility.

Paper long abstract:

Drawing on the works of Latour (2005), Law (1992), Massey (2005), Nowicka (2007), I conceptualise home as an assemblage of heterogeneous elements. In addition, I contend that home should be regarded both as a network of diverse elements and as a place distributed in space (Tuan 2001). It is a network—comprising people, objects and relationships—that is not grounded permanently anywhere, but which is nevertheless distributed geographically in a meaningful way. In this conceptualisation, territory is not the ground where home lies, but instead, it becomes one of the elements in the assemblage of possible combinations. How is it possible for an assemblage of heterogeneous elements held in precarious relationships to become home: a meaningful, continuous, ordered, and often monadic idea? To address this question, I look at home in the context of the extensive mobility of global cosmopolitans. Latour (2005) explains that when an actor-network breaks down, the punctualisation effect tends to cease as well. Mobility disrupts traditional notions of home. However, new ones are formed and lived by. I explore the ways by which highly mobile people try to sustain a notion of continuity to home through various processes of ordering, which provides stability to its components and their relationships and connects tangible and intangible objects and people into a "material-semiotic" ensemble (Miller 1998, Law 2009).

Panel P24
Exploring highly mobile life-worlds