Migrant housing investments and the struggle for integration, transnational ties, and the future.
For session at IMISCOE conference, Malmö, 26-28 June 2019
Session organizers: Paolo Boccagni (University of Trento) & Marta Bivand Erdal (Peace Research Institute Oslo)
This session investigates the prevalence, locations, functions and implications of migrant housing investments, and forms of home ownership, in migrants' countries of origin and settlement. Through migrant's houses – those migrants live in, sometimes own, sometimes rent, share with family and others, trajectories of integration and transnational engagement can be investigated. This session aims to do so in a comparative and interdisciplinary fashion, by collecting empirical contributions from a variety of emigration and immigration contexts. The influence of public policy on migrant housing investments, as well as the role of real estate agencies, urban planners, developers and other private actors, is also worth investigating. Likewise, researching the conditions of migrant houses is revealing of their life course projects and family-related aspirations and obligations. Even in terms of architecture and material culture, no less than of financial assets, an in-depth look into migrant home investment and ownership - including so-called remittance houses - provides key insights on several aspects: material living conditions and advancement (if any) in terms of economic wellbeing; identification with the predominant uses and styles of domestic spaces, and home cultures more broadly, in countries of origin and of settlement; and the expected developments and spatial locations of their own life trajectories over time.