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Home and beyond in Aotearoa: the affective dimensions of migration for South African migrants

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The integration of immigrants into local labour markets is a key focus of contemporary migration scholarship in Aotearoa New Zealand. While acknowledging the importance of these economic aspects of migrant settlement, in this article we examine instead how new arrivals from South Africa actively reconstitute a feeling of home and belonging post-migration. Drawing on the concept of affect, we illustrate the ways in which the experience of migration and settlement is embodied, situated and relational. We do this by examining the affective dimensions of home-making, both within and beyond the physical boundaries of a chosen dwelling and its location. Memory bridges all these experiences of transition, suffusing migrants' lives as they understand, frame and negotiate their affective present within the context of their affective past. Our focus renders visible important aspects of the migrant experience, and contributes to a more holistic understanding of why migrants come, how they settle and what encourages them to remain.
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Keywords: New Zealand; Nueva Zelanda; South African migrants; afecto; affect; belonging; embodiment; encarnación; hogar; home; inmigrantes de Sudáfrica; lugar; migración; migration; pertenencia; place

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Massey University, Private Bag 102 904, North Shore Auckland, 0745, New Zealand 2: Research, Investigations and Monitoring Unit, Auckland Council, Auckland, New Zealand

Publication date: September 14, 2015

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