Edited by Elizabeth Mavroudi, Ben Page and Anastasia Christou
Chapter 9: The timespace of identity and belonging: female migrants in Greece
The trajectories of migrant women from the Global North who live transnational lives in Athens, Greece, are explored by Elizabeth Mavroudi through an analysis of belonging and identity. The chapter heeds the call made by those geographers concerned with non-representational theory to use the word ‘space’ as a verb rather than a noun. ‘To space’ is to participate in a world that is enacted and unfolding around oneself in a messy, hybrid mixture (between self and other, human and non-human) and which exists, for many, in the realms of creative imagination. The chapter argues that thinking about timespace in non-representational ways entails understanding how the interplay of time and space are negotiated in people’s minds, experiences, performances and narratives. It is such an approach that this chapter argues can be useful in our analysis of migrant identities and belonging. In this framework timespace disrupts the idea(l) that there are specific ways to be and feel whilst ‘on the move’, and rallies against any attempts to categorise and structure belonging. Time is integral in understanding how the identities of these women are shaped, and how their feelings and actions emerge in particular contexts. Such lives unfold through the timespaces of the women’s experiences of whether they can really call Athens home, and whether they fit in. Mavroudi examines different moments in the women’s lives, and focuses on the emotional responses to specific issues. She argues that, rather than remembering the past in a linear and orderly way, timespace impacts upon identity in disjointed and ambivalent ways. The chapter makes the case for adopting a non-representational lens on timespace when analysing women’s identities. Keywords: women, transnationalism, identity, hybridity, non-representational theory, Greece
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