Annotation: Ahmed, Sara et al. (2003). Uprootings/Regroundings: Questions of Home and Migration

Ahmed, Sara, Castaneda, Claudia and Fortier, Anne-Marie (eds). 2003. Uprootings/Regroundings: Questions of Home and Migration. Oxford: Berg Publishers.

The collection is a contribution to the growing body of feminist literature on migration that explores the intersectionality of race, class, gender and sexuality, using a range of approaches that include autobiography, fictional narrative, analysis of law and policies, etc. A major concept used in the framework is that of uprootings/regroundings — as the editors write, “Being grounded is not necessarily about being fixed; being mobile is not necessarily about being detached” (1, italics in original). The book resists the categorization of home as distinct from migration, and looks at the affective, material, and symbolic enactments of both in relation to each other (2). The authors examine the processes of homing and migration, which they argue take shape through the imbrication of affective and bodily experience (micro-politics) with the larger, macro-political social and institutional domains. The book suggests that there are two challenges to transnational feminism (6). First, how to remain critical of the gendered dimension of international labour (following Grewal and Kaplan 1994), and second, how to be affirmative/in solidarity with others (following Spivak 1995). The authors suggest that what remains crucial in this project of problematizing homing practices and mobilities, is the attention to the histories of colonization and decolonization. With the recognition that contemporary mobilities depend upon and re-enact colonization, one must also ask how today’s experiences and imaginings of home and belonging are also related to these histories (7). For instance, Aileen Moreton-Robinson (Chapter 1), writes about how Australian Indigenous peoples were not diasporic, but were in fact in exile in their own homeland. In such a case, it does not follow that “staying put” is without movement. Following post-colonial theorists, the book rejects a linear narrative of migration (from integration, assimilation, and then inclusion) that takes for granted past, present, and future colonial power relations.

 

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