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Transformative homes: squatting and furnishing as sociocultural projects

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In the era of global workflows and massive migrations, it has been suggested that the notion of home is breaking free from its material aspects to become a set of exportable routines and practices. On the other hand, it is argued that the materiality of spaces and objects can support migrants' well-being in the new destination. Drawing on the ethnography of a Moroccan household in Rome, Italy, we illustrate how actions pertinent to the material home can favor identity development and the exercise of agency. First, we discuss squatting as a collective action of appropriation and transformation, which led to the identification with a transnational, intercultural category of migrant. Second, we illustrate the activities of furnishing as the locus of syncretic and reflexive processes, in which elements of the host country and themes from the migratory experience are mixed and reinterpreted in novel ways. Our analysis supports the view that the materiality of the home and the actions it affords play a major role in the socio-psychological adjustment of migrants and—on a wider scale—in processes of cultural dynamism and renovation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-133
JournalHome Cultures
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013

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