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.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
ISTAT data, 2010 (http://demo.istat.it).
I conducted 40 interviews with residents (75 %), local shopkeepers (15 %) and holidaymakers (10 %) that work or have their second home at the Hotel House. The people interviewed are 68 % men and 32 % women and come from 10 different countries (mainly from Senegal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Italy and Tunisia).
All names are fictitious to preserve privacy and anonymity.
The Hotel House’s administration council, a fundamental power place of the condominium, has seen several administrators and councillors come and go over time. Since the mid-2000s, the role of migrants in the council has gradually increased.
This percentage is very low considering that in the same period (2009), the majority of migrants living in Italy were women (51.3 %).
Before the economic crisis of the late 2000s.
Ahmed, S., Castaneda, C., Fortier, A. M., & Sheller, M. (Eds.). (2003). Uprootings/regrounding: Questions of home and migration. Oxford: Berg.
Bachelard, G. (1958). The poetics of space. Boston: Beacon Press.
Baumann, G. (1996). Contesting culture: Discourses of identity in multi-ethnic London. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Bisharat, G. E. (1997). Exile to compatriot: Transformations in the social identity of Palestinian refugees in the West Bank. In A. Gupta & J. Ferguson (Eds.), Culture, power, place. Explorations in critical anthropology. Durham and London: Duke University Press.
Borchard, K. (2013). Homelessness and conceptions of home. In M. Kusenbach & K. E. Paulsen (Eds.), International perspectives on culture, identity, and belonging. Frankfurt am Maim: Peter Lang.
Bourdieu, P. (1991). Language and symbolic power. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Brettell, C. (2006). Introduction: Global spaces/local places: Transnationalism, diaspora, and the meaning of home. Identities, 13(3), 327–334.
Brighenti, A. M. (2010). On territorology. Towards a general science of territory. Theory, Culture and Society, 27(1), 52–72.
Brooks-Gunn, J., Duncan, G., & Aber, J. L. (Eds.). (1997a). Neighborhood poverty: Context and consequences for children (Vol. 1). (New York: Russell Sage)
Cancellieri, A. (2013). Hotel House. Etnografia di un condominio multietnico. Trento: Professionaldreamers.
Cancellieri, A. (2014). Giustizia spaziale: una nuova prospettiva per gli studi sull’immigrazione? Mondi Migranti, 1, 121–138.
Cancellieri, A., & Ostanel, E. (2015). The struggle for public space: The hyper visibility of migrants in the Italian urban landscape. City, forthcoming.
Cancellieri, A., & Saint-Blancat, C. (2012). La scrittura religiosa della città. In: A. Cancellieri and G. Scandurra (eds.). Tracce urbane. Alla ricerca della città. (Milano: Franco Angeli).
Chapman, T., & Hockey, J. (Eds). (1999). Ideal homes? Social change and domestic life. London: Routledge.
Chu, J. Y. (2006). To be ‘emplaced’: Fuzhounese migration and the politics of destination. Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, 13, 395–425.
Cresswell, T. (1996). In place/out of place: Geography, ideology and transgression. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
Davidson, J., Bondi, L., & Smith, M. (Eds.). (2005). Emotional Geographies. Aldershot: Ashgate.
De Martino, E. (1977). La fine del mondo. Torino: Einaudi.
Dear, M. J., & Wolch, J. R. (Eds.). (1987). Landscapes of despair: From deinstitutionalization to homelessness. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.
Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1980). Capitalisme et schizophrénie 2: Mille plateaux. Paris: Éditions de Minuit.
Dordick, G. A. (1997). Something left to lose: Personal relations and survival among New York’s homeless. Philadelphia: Temple University.
Dovey, K. (1985). Home and homelessness. In I. Altman & C. M. Werner (Eds.), Home environments. New York: Plenum Press.
Dupuis, A., & Thorns, D. (1998). Home ownership and the search for ontological security. Sociological Review, 46(1), 24–47.
Escobar, A. (2001). Culture sits in places. Reflections on globalism and subaltern strategies of globalization. Political Geography, 20, 139–174.
Giglia, A. (2009). Housing Solutions in Mexico City. Cultures of Inhabiting and Urban Spaces. (Paper presented for the Housing Conference, Glasgow 2009).
Goffman, E. (1961). Asylums: Essays on the social situation of mental patients and other inmates. New York: Doubleday.
Gotham, K. F. (2003). Toward an understanding of the spatiality of urban poverty: The urban poor as spatial actors. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 27, 723–737.
Haesbaert, R. (2001). Le mythe de la déterritorialisation. Géographies et Cultures, 1, 40.
Harvey, D. (1989). The condition of postmodernity. Oxford: Blackwell.
Heidegger, M. (1971). Poetry, language, thought. New York: Harper and Row.
Hondagneu-Sotelo, P. (2007). Religion and social justice for immigrants. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.
Hooks, b. (1981). Ain’t I a woman?. Boston, MA: South End Press.
Hoskins, J. (1998). Biographical objects: How things tell the story of people’s lives. NewYork and London: Routledge.
Ingold, T. (1995). Building, dwelling, living: How animals and people make themselves at home in the world. In M. Strathern (Ed.), Shifting contexts: Transformations in anthropological knowledge. London: Routledge.
Jackson, M. (Ed.). (1995). At home in the World. Sydney: Harper Perennial.
Kärrholm, M. (2012). Retailising space. Architecture, retail and the territorialization of public space. London: Ashgate.
Kruse, K. M. (2005). White flight: Atlanta and the making of modern conservatism. Princeton: Princeton University.
Ley, D. (2008). The immigrant church as an urban service hub. Urban Studies., 45(10), 2057–2074.
Lofland, L. (1998). The public realm. Exploring the city’s quintessential social theory. Chicago: Aldine Transactions.
Makovicky, N. (2007). Closet and cabinet: Clutter as cosmology. Home Cultures, 4(3), 287–310.
Mallett, S. (2004). Understanding home: A critical review of the literature. The Sociological Review, 52(1), 62–89.
Mandich, G., & Rampazzi, M. (2009). Domesticità e addomesticamento. La costruzione della sfera domestica nella vita quotidiana. Sociologia@DRES. Quaderni di Ricerca, 1, 1–30.
Massey, D. B. (1994). Space, place, and gender. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Massey, D. B. (2003). Some times of space. In O. Eliasson (Ed.), The weather project. London: Tate Publishing.
Massey, D. B. (2005). For space. London: Sage.
Nowicka, M. (2006). Transnational professionals and their cosmopolitan universes. Frankfurt: Campus Verlag.
Nowicka, M. (2007). Mobile locations: Construction of home in a group of mobile transnational professionals. Global Networks, 7(1), 69–86.
Paerregaard, K. (2008). In the footsteps of the lord of miracles: The expatriation of religious icons in the Peruvian diaspora. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 34, 1073–1089.
Phillips, D. (2008). The problem with segregation: Exploring the racialisation of space in Northern Pennine towns. In C. Dwyer & C. Bressey (Eds.), New geographies of race and racism. Hants: Ashgate.
Raffestin, C. (1984). Territoriality—A reflection of the discrepancies between the organization of space and individual liberty. International Political Science Review, 5(2), 139–146.
Ralph, D., & Staeheli, L. (2011). Home and migration: Mobilities, belongings and identities. Geography Compass, 5, 517–530.
Rappaport, J. (1981). In Praise of Paradox. A Social Policy of Empowerment over Prevention. American Journal of Community Psychology, 1, 1–25.
Relph, E. (1976). Place and placelessness. London: Pion.
Rossi, P. (1989). Down and out in America: The origins of homelessness. Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press.
Saint-Blancat, C., & Cancellieri, A. (2014). From invisibility to visibility? The appropriation of public space through a religious ritual: The Filipino procession of Santacruzan in Padua, Italy. Social and Cultural Geography, 15, 645–663.
Saint-Blancat, C., & Schmidt di Friedberg, O. (2005). Why are Mosques a problem? local politics and Fear of Islam in Northern Italy. Journal of Ethnic and Migrations Studies, 31(6), 1083–1104.
Sampson, R. J., Morenoff, J. D., & Gannon-Rowley, T. (2002). Assessing neighbourhood effects: Social processes and new directions in research. Annual Review of Sociology, 28, 443–478.
Simmel, G. (1949). The sociology of sociability. American Journal of Sociology, 3, 254–261.
Simonsen, K. (2013). In quest of a new humanism: Embodiment, experience and phenomenology as critical geography. Progress in Human Geography, 37, 10.
Small, M. L. (2004). Villa Victoria: The transformation of social capital in a Boston Barrio. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Smith, M., Davidson, J., Cameron, L., & Bondi, L. (2009). Emotion. place and culture. Aldershot: Ashgate.
Spivak, G. (1988). Subaltern studies: Deconstructing historiography. In G. Spivak (Ed.), Other worlds: Essays in cultural politics. London: Routledge.
Strüver, A. (2004). Boundaries under construction: Linking body politics to space. Espace, Populations, Sociétés, 9, 1.
Thrift, N. (2004). Intensities of feeling: Towards a spatial politics of affect. Geografiska Annaler, 86, 57–78.
Tucker, A. (1994). In search of home. Journal of Applied Philosophy, 11(2), 181–187.
Vianello, F. (Ed.). (2006). Ai margini della città. Forme del controllo e risorse sociali nel nuovo ghetto. Roma: Carocci.
Virilio, P. (1991). Lost dimension. New York: Semiotexte.
Zorbaugh, H. W. (1929). The gold coast and the Slum: A sociological study of Chicago’s near north side. Chicago: University of Chicago.
About this article
Cite this article
Cancellieri, A. Towards a progressive home-making: the ambivalence of migrants’ experience in a multicultural condominium. J Hous and the Built Environ 32, 49–61 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10901-015-9489-7
- Domestic space
- Affective turn
- Social control
- Intercultural mobilisation