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Title: Place matters : behind neighbourhood lines
Author: Mourão, Ana Luísa
ISNI:       0000 0004 4862 2757
Awarding Body: Brunel University London
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2014
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Flows of transnational movements and communications continue to grow in the world today, whilst simultaneously the importance of physical proximity, mobility restrictions and spatial attachments continue to persist, even for mobile populations themselves. The fact that circulation and immobility are both enmeshed in migrants' life experiences creates challenges for analysis of how people relate to local places, and how 'place' can be theorised in the social sciences. This problematic lies at the heart of my research, which examines how second-generation Cape Verdean migrants rehoused in Topia (pseudonym), an urban council estate near Lisbon (Portugal), constitute and relate to their 'neighbourhood' as a meaningful place. Based on fourteen months of participant observation in 2010-2011, complemented by life stories and institutional interviews, this research focuses on how Topia and its boundaries are socially forged by neighbourhood residents, visitors and the wider society, and what complex meanings and effects these demarcation lines have for Topia's inhabitants. I discuss local neighbour relations, morals and cultural habits; identity categories, mobility patterns and territorial practices; and attitudes towards work, money, time and government, to show how all these elements forge multiple oppositional boundaries between the neighbourhood and outside society, furthering the social and spatial exclusion of its population. This comprehensive urban ethnography challenges the 'transnational' orientation of current migration studies by highlighting the social significance of territory, proximity and spatial segregation in the lives of migrant dwellers. With the case study of Topia, I aim to show how addressing 'place' through a focus on 'boundary-making' (defined in complex and processual terms) is able to incorporate flux and immobility, and combine different scales of analysis (local, national and transnational), in a bottom-up ethnographic approach which views place as it is (re)produced through people's situated practices, ties, discourses and understandings.
Supervisor: Beatty, A. Sponsor: Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT - MCTES)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Transnationalism ; Space ; Boundaries ; Cape Verdean migrants ; Housing project