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Roots and Routes: Migration, belonging and everyday life

Authors:

Ann-Dorte Christensen ,

Aalborg University, Department of Sociology and Social Work, Kroghstraede 5, DK- 9220 Aalborg East, DK
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Sune Qvotrup Jensen

Aalborg University, Department of Sociology and Social Work, Kroghstraede 5, DK- 9220 Aalborg East, DK
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Abstract

This article is about transnational migrants, how they construct belonging to ‘new’ places where they have arrived, and how the feelings of belonging to their places of origin change when they go back. The theoretical part of the article outlines the relationship between migration and belonging arguing that there is a dynamic interplay between roots and routes in people’s lives. The empirical point of departure is narratives about roots and routes by ethnic minorities settled in Aalborg East, an underprivileged neighbourhood in northern Denmark. One of the main findings is a gap between the national exclusion of transnational migrants marked as ‘strangers’ and border figures of the nation and a relatively high degree of local belonging to the neighbourhood. This is followed by an in-depth empirical analysis inspired by Alfred Schutz’s distinction between the stranger and the homecomer. A somewhat paradoxical finding is that it appears to be more difficult for transnational migrants to maintain their roots in the country of origin when they go back than it was to establish new roots in the host country.
How to Cite: Christensen, A.-D. and Jensen, S.Q., 2011. Roots and Routes: Migration, belonging and everyday life. Nordic Journal of Migration Research, 1(3), pp.146–155. DOI: http://doi.org/10.2478/v10202-011-0013-1
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Published on 01 Dec 2011.
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