Home is where the heart is : the case of Turkish migrants in the Netherlands and their meaning of 'home'

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This research revolves around the experience of migration and its effect on the meaning of 'home' for the transmigrant. More specifically, this is investigated within the case of Turkish guestlabourers in the Netherlands. Turks are one of the largest groups of migrants within the Netherlands and within their relatively short history in this country they still have made a large impact on Dutch society. Over the past decades, scholars have come to the realisation that immigrants are transnational and “live their lives across borders and maintain their ties to home” (Glick Schiller et al. 1992, p ix), rather than gradually integrating in their new environment until they are completely 'absorbed' and adapted, while disconnected from their original roots. Through transnational networks migrants are influenced by both their original and current environment at the same time. Transnationalism therefore adds a level of complexity to the concept and practice of migration. The migrant does not only become a stranger, foreigner or alien at his place of arrival, moreover he is also removed and, hence, becomes estranged from the friends and family, the culture and place that he left behind but that had, up till now, always been ‘home’. Within the current era of globalism and mobility, it is both of scientific and of societal relevance to go deeper into the experience of migrants 'home' feelings and to place this study in a time frame in which internet and telecommunication have added an extra dimension to our world. It is an era in which communication technologies have quickly developed and people are becoming more mobile, hence, it becomes relatively easier to maintain relations with transnational social networks, making processes of migration become more complex and multilocated. Since 'home' is a concept that could be typically referring to a locational place as well as a non-physical feeling, it is a valuable subject of studying transnationalism from the perspective of human geography. This research will specifically go deeper into the practices of transmigrants on the individual level of the experience, researching meanings of 'home', feelings of belonging and experiences of transnational networks of Turkish guest-workers in the Netherlands. The focus of this study is phenomenological, but especially from the perspective of the societal relevance as described, it also has a potentially practical side to it. Shortly, the aim of this research is: To acquire an in-depth understanding of migration experiences of Turks in the Netherlands and more specifically the effects of integration and/or estranging processes on their feeling of 'home', in order to gain insights of Turkish migration processes. In this research only the specific case of first generation Turkish guest-workers in the Netherlands will be studied in order to be able to go more in-depth within the limited time-frame. The central research questions that will be giving direction to this research are given below: What is the meaning of 'home' to Turkish migrants in the Netherlands as a result of processes of estrangement and integration, influenced by old and by new (transnational) social networks these migrants sustain and develop in both the homeland and the receiving country?
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen