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Title: The Chilean diaspora of London : diasporic social scenes and the spatial politics of home
Author: Ramirez, Carolina
ISNI:       0000 0004 5361 636X
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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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.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available