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Being-Here: Placemaking in a World of Movement

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Volume 35

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Placemaking in a World of Movement

Annika Lems

252 pages, 15 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-849-6 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (May 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-850-2 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $29.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“…an impressive book. It demonstrates the power of storytelling among people who were born in a country famed for its love of the art of storytelling…a thought-provoking book unravelling the key role of storytelling in migrants’ movements, place-making and everyday struggle. Her study breaks out of the tautologies of the study of international migration, manifesting the openness, in its ambiguities and potentials, of human life.” • Anthropology News

“What makes Lems’ insights unusually powerful is her skill in writing sensitively and sensuously from within the highly particular experience of her two main interlocutors, capturing the incipient and vernacular modes in which space and place figure in their consciousness in different contexts, and in relation to different events.  As an essay in phenomenological anthropology, this is groundbreaking work. As an empirically-grounded contribution to an existential anthropology of minor modes of being, it may be second to none.” • Michael D. Jackson, Harvard University

“This compelling monograph leaves us with a wonderfully clear and moving sense of the existential predicaments of displacement in a globalized world, explored through three Somali protagonists’ life stories. Written and conceived in the existential phenomenological vein, this is a strong and well-written ethnography and a moving testament to the power of story-telling to redress the obstacles of migrant life and to reclaim meaning and direction in the circumstances we are thrown into.” • Hans Lucht, Danish Institute for International Studies


Exploring the lifeworlds of Halima, Omar and Mohamed, three middle-aged Somalis living in Melbourne, Australia, the author discusses the interrelated meanings of emplacement and displacement as experienced in people’s everyday lives. Through their experiences of displacement and placemaking, Being-Here examines the figure of the refugee as a metaphor for societal alienation and estrangement, and moves anthropological theory towards a new understanding of the crucial existential links between Sein (Being) and Da (Here).

Annika Lems is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute of Social Anthropology at the University of Bern, Switzerland. She completed her PhD at Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia in 2013. Her work is influenced by existential and phenomenological approaches in anthropology and philosophy, and her research focuses on the themes of mobility and immobility, place and displacement, visual and narrative storytelling, and memory and temporality.

Subject: General Anthropology General Mobility Studies


List of Illustrations

Introduction: Greeting Xamar


Chapter 1. Walkers of the Everyday


Chapter 2. Placing Somalia
Chapter 3. Living One-Eyed
Chapter 4. An Accidental Move
Chapter 5. Home-Building
Chapter 6. Homewards


Chapter 7. At Home in the Universe
Chapter 8. Gendered Dis/Emplacements
Chapter 9. Displaced Stories
Chapter 10. Placeless Dreams

Final Juncture: Concluding Words


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