Home, a simple and complex notion which seems to be constitutive of the human experience, is a noun. Homing, instead, is a verb – pointing to the social process of constructing and making home as a critical source of insight on human mobility, space appropriation and inter-group relations. While home is the apparently natural basis of everyday life, the ERC-StG project HOMInG unpacks it, through a systematic analysis of the ways of constructing, emplacing and circulating home under the influence of extended mobility and societal diversity. Home is to be understood, here, both as a bounded place – hence a matter of living and housing conditions, affected by structural variables and inequalities; and as a meaningful and emotionalized kind of relationship with place – an experience that should be based on a sense of security, familiarity and control. In this sense, home is the critical but neglected basis of migrants’ integration, or of how they negotiate their belonging, membership and inclusion across societies. How at home, if at all, they feel (to belong) in a given place/community is a key indicator of their attitudes and long-term attachment to it. This is equally critical to the living experience of their counterparts, to be also analysed in this project – natives or long-term residents in countries of settlement and non-migrants stayers in countries of origin.
Project Leader: Paolo Boccagni