Memories of the home left behind : The Gambian immigrants in Finland

Show full item record

Title: Memories of the home left behind : The Gambian immigrants in Finland
Author: Poikonen, Leena
Contributor organization: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology
Helsingin yliopisto, Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta, Sosiologian laitos
Helsingfors universitet, Statsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Sociologiska institutionen
Date: 2004-09-20
Language: eng
Thesis level: Master’s thesis
Discipline: Social and Cultural Anthropology
Sosiaali- ja kulttuuriantropologia
Social- och kulturantropologi
Abstract: This thesis examines memories and emotions about the home left behind by the Gambian immigrants in Finland. It elucidates what kinds of emotions are brought out by the memories of home, and how people describe and interpret those emotions. It also discusses the different kinds of ideas and conceptualisations about home as well as the significance of the home left behind when living in the migrant condition. It is argued that home left behind affects the life of immigrants: people are not without history when they arrive to their new homeland. Moreover, it is assumed that there are emotional connections to home, the place where we care for people, and those connections do not disappear when we move. The study challenges the Western notion of emotions as individual inner events untouched by culture and thus readily understandable across cultures. The study is situated in the fields of psychological anthropology and migration studies. The theoretical framework consists of theories of home, migration, transnationalism and diaspora, anthropological theories of emotion, and theories of collective memory. The qualitative data is derived from fieldwork among the Gambian immigrants in the metropolitan area of Finland (Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa) and it consists of participant observation and semi-structured in-depth interviews with 10 informants, as well as informal interviews. The study shows that emotionally loaded memories centre around social relationships. Closeness and the collective way of life of the Gambia is remembered and longed for. Emotions are often expressed implicitly and also through the medium of body: sometimes memories, loneliness and longing are experienced as mental and somatic symptoms. Gambian conception of emotion differs from the Western one and conveys the cultural norms of controlling and balancing emotions. Home left behind is apparent in the lives of immigrants as practices learned, values, morality, beliefs, and social order. The home left behind also means concrete contacts and responsibilities of maintaining social relations as well as economically contributing to those left behind. The home left behind signifies responsibilities as well as dreams about return to the place where “people know who you are”.
Description: Only abstract. Paper copies of master’s theses are listed in the Helka database ( Electronic copies of master’s theses are either available as open access or only on thesis terminals in the Helsinki University Library.Vain tiivistelmä. Sidottujen gradujen saatavuuden voit tarkistaa Helka-tietokannasta ( Digitaaliset gradut voivat olla luettavissa avoimesti verkossa tai rajoitetusti kirjaston opinnäytekioskeilla.Endast sammandrag. Inbundna avhandlingar kan sökas i Helka-databasen ( Elektroniska kopior av avhandlingar finns antingen öppet på nätet eller endast tillgängliga i bibliotekets avhandlingsterminaler.
Subject: collective memory
the Gambians

Files in this item

Total number of downloads: Loading...

Files Size Format View
abstract.pdf 48.80Kb PDF View/Open

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show full item record