Towards a progressive home-making: the ambivalence of migrants’ experience in a multicultural condominium

  • Adriano CancellieriEmail author


Following the rhetoric of globalisation and hyper-mobility, the ideas of placelessness and detachment from place seem to be the essential features of contemporary cities. This conceals the human necessity to constantly create new senses of home and new home-making practices. Starting from ethnographic research in a multicultural condominium (called Hotel House) in Italy, the paper uses the urban experience of migrants to look at different home-making practices by analysing them as multidimensional (spatial, social and emotional) processes. Firstly, migrants living in Hotel House produce ‘home’ by imbuing domestic spaces with their own memory and meaning and creating public and collective spaces characterised by ‘homely relations’. In both cases, they produce material, emotional and symbolic resources. Secondly, the paper analyses the ‘dark side of home-making’, inasmuch as the social density of the home-making practices in Hotel House’s domestic and public spaces also favours strong forms of social control, particularly relevant for women and young people. Thirdly, the paper analyses how the sense of home sustains a collective intercultural mobilisations against Hotel House’s institutional abandonment and stigmatisation that reveal the threshold-crossing capacity of ‘home’. Home, in conclusion, is not a romanticised, fixed and bounded place to protect. It is a plural and conflictual field of action that can support social exclusion but can also open new interconnections and possibilities of peoples’ empowerment.


Home-making Migrants Domestic space Affective turn Social control Intercultural mobilisation 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Design and Planning in complex environmentsUniversity IUAV of VeniceVeniceItaly

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