Are We There Yet? Understandings of Home Among Compulsive Migrants

Abstract

 This paper closes a gap in the field of cultural studies by analysing compulsive migrants — individuals who voluntarily migrate out of desire rather than need. Employing in-depth interviews, I create a theoretical framework for compulsive migrants’ understandings of home based on their lived experiences. Academic research on migration focuses on home from a literal and figurative standpoint, emphasising the theoretical consequences of leaving the original home behind. Home emerges as closely linked to belonging, which traditionally is associated with place. Compulsive migrants, by contrast, do not locate a sense of belonging in geographical place. Compulsive migrants are voluntary, non-economically driven migrants whose mobility is determined by a search for self-fulfilment. Exhibiting cosmopolitan mindsets, compulsive migrants thrive in experiencing the unknown — people, places and cultures — while retaining their own values, beliefs and lifestyles. They experience a heightened sense of boredom, which they employ as a coping strategy for dealing with their disillusionment with the world. In this sense, boredom can be a means of escaping a life and lifestyle that is deemed to be unfulfilling. Compulsive migration surfaces as a response to coping with the world’s uncertainties. For compulsive migrants, home is an interplay between three things: a cosmopolitan cultural identity; the principal motivation for continuing to migrate, boredom; and a sense of belonging based on a familiarity with a culture and its people. Compulsive migrants form part of a transnational elite seeking fulfilment beyond familiar borders. This politics of self-actualisation opens legal, political and ethical questions for future cultural research.



Author Information
Carol Neuschul Lindner, Independant Researcher, United States

Paper Information
Conference: ACCS2013
Stream: Asian Studies

This paper is part of the ACCS2013 Conference Proceedings (View)
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