CfP: HOMING symposium (Trento, June 3-4, 2019): Displacement, suspension, projections and achievements in making home on the move

The HOMInG team – a research group led by Paolo Boccagni (University of Trento) investigating the home-migration nexus – will host a mid-term symposium in Trento next June 3-4.

The symposium will be on HomING: displacement, suspension, projections and achievements in making home on the move. This event aims to open up the conversation between HOMInG’s researchers, who will present their preliminary findings, and colleagues and practitioners interested in questions of home and migration across national and disciplinary borders. This symposium aims to address them through nine sessions (see them below).

Abstracts, 250 words long, with a specification of the relevant session, should be submitted to by next March 15. For more information visit


   What moves and what stays put or behind. Revisiting the portability of home (Paolo Boccagni)

As much research shows, there are aspects of what used to be home that migrants or refugees can carry along with them, literally, metaphorically or virtually. Other aspects are left away in time and space, intentionally or not, but may still affect their life conditions and prospects. How the ones interact with the others, and what accounts for migrant (in)success in combining them, is the core issue of this session, which welcomes theoretically driven and empirically based contributions from across social sciences.

   Home, Kinship and Mobility. Voicing Relatedness through Movements (Sara Bonfanti)

Kinship migration may involve the transfer of households, but also create a cultural idiom through which (factual or fictive) relatedness is un/made across moving social fields. This session invites to consider whether the use of kinship language within refugee/migratory experiences might articulate forms of relatedness otherwise invisible. Who’s a next of kin under conditions of mobility? Which duties and rights, deeds and reciprocities do kinfolk share when shifting roofs?

   Lost homes? Investigating homing for refugees in Europe and their families back home (Milena Belloni)

This session explores refugees’ experiences of home. Rather than assuming a “typical refugee experience” (Stein, 1981), it aims to investigate whether or not the legal, political and social position occupied by refugees in the new country of arrival towards their homeland has specific implications for their homemaking practices and feelings. To what extent does the impossibility to return home influence refugees’ connections with their families back home and their homemaking practices abroad? Are there specific challenges – compared with other migrants – to their daily homing practices and those of their families back home?

   Home and the senses (Alejandro Miranda)

In its various guises, home is constituted and experienced through its sensory, material and affective dimensions. This session invites presentations dealing with the making of home through these dimensions, including sensory aspects of domestic and non-domestic environments, as well as private and public spaces.

   HomING in unhomely contexts. Studies from the margins (Aurora Massa)

Informal settlements, reception centres, ghettos and transit areas are common dwelling arrangements for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, in Europe as well as elsewhere. This session aims at exploring how homing occurs in settings that, due to their material structures, location, symbolic values or the people one lives with, are considered “unhomely” by their inhabitants. What kind of practices and sense of home, familiarity and domesticity are developed there? The session is also interested in critically engaging with the notion of “unhomely” and the different factors which concur to its (emic) definitions.

   Mobility, domesticity and sexuality on the move (Ilka Vari-Lavoisier)

Homes retain the imaginary of shelter or safe haven (Ley-Cervantes and al. 2015) – although, every day, three hundred women die of domestic violence, at home, and at least a third of sexual abuses would be perpetrated by relatives, inside homes (WHO 2015). However, researching transnational intimacies raises a series of methodological and ethical concerns. To reflect on the avenues available to researching sexuality in mobile settings, this panel invites contributions touching on the interrelations between mobility, domesticity, and sexuality.

   Between choice and compulsion: Challenging migration categories through the lens of home (Luis Eduardo Pérez Murcia)

This panel aims to explore whether and how migrants and displaced people’s experiences of home and home-making practices provide a new conceptual framework to either sustain or challenge migration categories. We invite papers addressing (but not limited to) questions such as whether and how ideas of home make distinctions between the so called ‘forced’ and ‘voluntary’ migration meaningful or superfluous.

   Architectures of displacement: material forms of refugees’ accomodations and its implications (Daniela Giudici)

The panel discusses diverse asylum seekers’ housing arrangements in contemporary Europe (from institutional reception centres to abandoned buildings, emergency camps and so on). How do these material forms affect asylum seekers’ lived experiences, as well as their relationships with the surrounding environment and social context?  How do asylum seekers themselves shape, transform or resist the accommodations they are provided with? Which kind of emotional configurations and, possibly, political engagements can emerge within and around such dwellings?

   Housing pathways and housing temporalities: homemaking practices through displacement and time (Enrico Fravega)

“People are not paths, but they cannot avoid drawing them in space-time” (Hagerstrand, 1982). Migration involves the change of many different accommodations. The home-making practices associated with it allow (or prevent) the crisscrossing of both linear and cyclic temporalities as well as the connection of different types of home (i.e. the place where one is born, the place where relatives or parents are, the place where one can put his/her belongings, etc.). We invite papers dealing with these issues and the way the linkage between space and time affects belonging.