Shopping for Diasporic Belonging: Being ‘Local’ or Being ‘Mobile’ as a VFR Visitor in the Ancestral Homeland

L.B. Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Visits to friends and relatives are often part of circulatory migration mobilities between resident and ancestral homelands. These journeys are characteristic of the diasporic lives of post-migrant generations of Moroccans from Europe, where close proximity and relatively unimpeded mobility between homelands have enabled a tradition of vacationing at ‘home’. For many such individuals, this vacation visit involves repeatedly negotiating a sense of belonging in that homeland, as individuals who maintain relatively strong connections to that place but seem to continuously struggle as an ‘othered’ group. This article explores how their activities as visitors – ‘what they do’ while in Morocco – shape a sense of ‘who they are’ as partially belonging in this homeland space. Activities they do outside their familial homes are often in parallel to practices of tourists – like shopping. Using microanalysis of bargaining – which is one of the most frequently repeated interactions these visitors have with resident Moroccans outside their own families – I demonstrate how they are categorically positioned as ‘non-local’ or ‘mobile’ versions of ‘being-Moroccan’. Specifically, in this case study example from a larger corpus of similar examples, the diasporic participant practices ‘being-Moroccan’ in a way that is distinctly mobile, and – despite her efforts to the contrary – unmistakably categorically marked as coming ‘from elsewhere’. This analysis is an effort to explore how ‘othering’ between residents and diasporic VFR is subtly enmeshed in the ordinary activities of daily life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)654-668
JournalPopulation, Space and Place
Volume21
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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