Marotta, Vince P. 2008, Multicultural places and the idea of home, in TASA 2008 : Re-imagining sociology : the annual conference of the Australian Sociological Association 2008, 2-5 December 2008, The University of Melbourne, TASA, Melbourne, Vic., pp. 1-13.
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Place identification in urban sociology has traditionally be associated with a sense of ‘being at home’ and connected to the formation of stable and fixed identities. The rise in transnational migration and the increasing number of refugees around the world has made particular regions and communities, within many western nations, culturally diverse. This has led to a re-conceptualisation and re-examination of the relationship between place and home. In light of this new paradigm I explore the existence of multicultural places and investigate the ways, if any, we can speak of ‘being at home’ in these diverse urban places. If home has been traditionally associated with order, sameness and identity while multicultural places are conceptualised in terms of fluidity, contingency, heterogeneity and difference then there seems to be an inherent tension between these two ideas. Are the ideas of home and multiculturalism mutually exclusive? I maintain that they are dialectically interwoven, especially when we acknowledge that otherness and home should not be conceived in binary terms. In order to examine this complex relationship the paper provides a brief discussion of home within the discourses of modernity and postmodernity and then links these discourses to phenomenological and sociological approaches to home. The concluding section demonstrates how home and otherness are expressed in intercultural moments where sameness and diversity rub against each other causing occasional friction but also moments of intercultural dialogue.
Reproduced with kind permission of the copyright owner.
Field of Research
160803 Race and Ethnic Relations
Socio Economic Objective
940111 Ethnicity, Multiculturalism and Migrant Development and Welfare
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