Migrating-remitting-‘building’-dwelling: house-making as ‘proxy’ presence in postsocialist Albania

Dalakoglou, Dimitris (2010) Migrating-remitting-‘building’-dwelling: house-making as ‘proxy’ presence in postsocialist Albania. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 16 (4). pp. 761-777. ISSN 1359-0987

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This article examines the material culture of migration, focusing on migrants' house-making projects in their countries of birth. In particular, it examines the houses built or refurbished by Albanians in their home-country, which is no longer their place of permanent residence. This is a widespread phenomenon in Albania, but it is also a frequently appearing practice amongst other international migrants. Why do migrants living outside their home-countries build houses there even though they do not plan to return? I seek to answer this question in the case of Albania by focusing empirically on the process of constructing these houses, rather than merely on the material entity of the house as such. I propose that such 'house-making' by Albanian migrants is not only a simple house-building process; it also ensures a constant dwelling and dynamic 'proxy' presence for migrants in their community of origin. These ethnographic observations have further significance for the anthropological study of both houses and international migration.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Depositing User: Dimitris Dalakoglou
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:08
Last Modified: 28 May 2012 09:50
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/10530
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