Mapping the Concept(s) of Belonging


Various epistemological changes - such as the linguistic, narrative, and cultural turns that have influenced humanistic and social scientific studies since the 1980s - have had an impact on the increased academic interests in politics, discourses, processes, and practices of belonging. During the recent decades, the idea of belonging or non-belonging have been discussed and theorized in various fields with diverse parallel and/or overlapping conceptualizations. These include, for example, identity, identification, place-making, fixing, exclusion, inclusion, displacement, and their affective, performative, narrative, representational, intersectional, multilayered, and fluid nature. In recent years, several scholars have aimed to discuss the topics framed by the above mentioned concepts and points of view with a new conceptualization: ‘Belonging' has been operationalized as a theoretical and analytical tool in the investigation of various contemporary forms of communal interaction.
This paper explores ‘belonging' as a scholarly concept with the method of concept analysis. By analyzing a selection of recent academic publications in various fields of cultural studies we seek to answer the following questions: What does ‘belonging' comprise? How is it used and defined in recent research? How does it relate to other similar concepts employed in the studies on politics, discourses, processes, and practices of belonging? What kind of added value does the concept bring to these studies? As a result, the paper presents a chart indicating the links and relations between the concept of belonging and other related concepts. The paper concludes by discussing the problems and advantages of the concept of belonging in research.

Author Information
Tuuli Lähdesmäki, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
Kaisa Ahvenjärvi, University of Jyväskylä, Finland 
Kaisa Hiltunen, University of Jyväskylä, Finland 
Saara Jäntti, University of Jyväskylä, Finland  
Nina Sääskilahti, University of Lapland, Finland 
Tuija Saresma, University of Jyväskylä, Finland  
Antti Vallius, University of Jyväskylä, Finland 

Paper Information
Conference: ACCS2014
Stream: Cultural Studies

This paper is part of the ACCS2014 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Lähdesmäki T., Ahvenjärvi K., Hiltunen K., Jäntti S., Sääskilahti N., Saresma T., & Vallius A. (2014) Mapping the Concept(s) of Belonging ISSN: 2187-4751 – The Asian Conference on Cultural Studies 2014 – Official Conference Proceedings
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