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Languages: English
Types: Doctoral thesis
Subjects:
This thesis traces the experience of home, migration and belonging of an intergenerational group of Chileans who have remained in the UK after being exiled by the Pinochet regime (1973-1990). The Chilean diaspora of London form one of the ‘new diasporas’ who are not straightforwardly connected to The UK’s imperial past but to its contemporary history. This case offers insight into diasporas’ power to unsettle spatial and temporal delimitations and to reveal alternative geopolitical connections and social webs. The research involved a multi-method and multi-site ethnography. Through biographical accounts, fieldwork conducted in situ, and both archive and contemporary photographs, I followed a web of social scenes dating from the 1970s. Long-standing diasporic social scenes allow for a conceptualisation of ‘home’ as made through continuity and change, and in relation to diverse public domains rather than in seclusion. Through social scenes, home-making is achieved through embodied practices, material objects and physical landscapes, dynamics that allow for a grounded approach to diaspora and home, both of which emerge as a process rather than as given. In this grounded approach, diasporas’ historical grievances and memories still matter. The focus is on how they are reinstated and made to matter in the local present. The thesis was accompanied by an exhibition which presented different research materials to provide to the reader alternative means to navigate and weave the lines that connect the scenes’ different temporalities and spaces. Complementing the written account, it offered a more vivid approach to the scenes’ connected actors, routines and atmospheres. Moreover, the exhibition established a parallel between ethnographic research and ‘curating’ – both involve managing, classifying, arranging and selecting ‘objects’, as well as using one’s knowledge to collect relevant pieces and make them public. As a form of assembled scenery, the exhibition also contributed to an interactive, multidimensional and dynamic understanding of home.
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    • Introduction ................................................................................................................................... 9 Research questions and 'home' as a field of inquiry................................................................ 14 Researching Latin Americans in London and the Chilean diaspora ......................................... 17 Writing diasporic home-making: image/text interface ........................................................... 19 How did I get here? .................................................................................................................. 21
    • Chapter 1 - The Chilean Diaspora of London in Context............................................................. 26 Dislocations, departures and detours ...................................................................................... 27 Arriving and relocating ............................................................................................................ 34 Searching for a home in the public sphere............................................................................... 41 Returning, re-migrating and the re-invention of home ........................................................... 51 Conclusion ................................................................................................................................ 60
    • Chapter 2 - Theoretical framework: toward a grounded approach to migration....................... 62 From exile to diaspora ............................................................................................................. 62 Diaspora as a process .............................................................................................................. 67 From transnational spaces to diasporic spaces ....................................................................... 73 Home........................................................................................................................................ 77 Home and migration ................................................................................................................ 82 Diasporic social scenes and publics.......................................................................................... 90
    • Chapter 3 - Field, Methods and Methodology............................................................................ 95 Chapter 4 - Troubling the Boundaries Between Private and Public Fields ............................... 128 Behind a door's framed glass................................................................................................. 130 Materialising other diasporic landscapes .............................................................................. 136 Cultivating home in the open field ......................................................................................... 141 Women's place....................................................................................................................... 148 A dysfunctional home ............................................................................................................ 156 Conclusion .............................................................................................................................. 159
    • Chapter 5 - 'El piquete de Londres': a diasporic space and moment ........................................ 161 Pinochet's detention and el piquete in context...................................................................... 164 'All those people, all that history': creating a space of connection ....................................... 168 On appearance and recognition ............................................................................................ 173 'New' languages, new enactments, new inhabitations ......................................................... 177 The carnivalesque as means of public engagement .............................................................. 182 Conclusion .............................................................................................................................. 188
    • Appendix: Table with participants ............................................................................................. 285 Bibliography ............................................................................................................................... 303 Filmography ............................................................................................................................... 328 Bell, Vikki. 1999a. “Historical Memory, Global Movements and Violence: Paul Gilroy and Arjun Appadurai in Conversation.” In Performativity and Belonging, edited by Vikki Bell, 21-40. London; Thousand Oaks Calif.: Sage Publications.
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