Timespace and International Migration
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Timespace and International Migration

Edited by Elizabeth Mavroudi, Ben Page and Anastasia Christou

Furthering understanding of the temporalities and spatialities of how people move across international boundaries, this book analyses how timespace intersects with migrant journeys as an integral aspect of the rhythms of daily lives. Individual chapters engage with these concepts by analysing a broad spectrum of migrations and mobilities, from youth mobility, to refugee migration, to gentrification, to food and to the political geography of the border.
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Chapter 11: Dinner time: eating, moving, becoming

Ben Page


This chapter makes a conceptual leap from James Joyce’s Ulysses to Bergson’s notion of duration in order to finally discuss an ethnographic moment during a meal in Cameroon and, in that journey, to connect food to migrant subjectivity and self-actualization. It argues that this conceptual lens can be of value to breaking down the idea that the timespace of the migrant-subject has any essential boundary marked by an inside/outside that is contiguous with the space of the subject’s body and a beginning/end that is contemporaneous with the times of the subject’s ‘migration’. This is an immersion into the interactive field that food studies and migration studies offer with mnemonic, embodied and temporally constituted elements of becoming that unfold through the flow of experience. Following Bergson, the analysis explores two types of time: spatialized time (associated with the intellect) and real time (or duration), which is associated with intuition. In this context the emotional aspirations of becoming and being are captured in and through movement and the rhythms, affective energies and the forces that embodiment entails when the mundane actions of everyday life such as preparing and consuming food are disaggregated into life-journeys, migrant-journeys and journeys for research. Thus movement here becomes a vessel for subject formation, but challenges any sense of the spatial co-incidence of subject and body through these snapshots of imagined, social and research life. Keywords: food, time, duration, becoming, subjectivity, Cameroon

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