42 / 2015
Nataša Rogelja

“Sail Away”: The Biographical Approach as a Tool to Understand the Concept of Temporarily Unbelonging


The paper explores the connection between the sea, sea imaginaries and lifestyle migration. Through the use of qualitative longitudinal research, specifically the biographical approach, it discusses in what way sea imaginaries are the inspiration for lifestyle migrants and how they are translated into practice in situ.  It introduces the idea of unbelonging developed by Rogoff (2000) in relation with migrants’ experiences. In the first part I discuss the sea as a physical place and as a significant symbol for my interlocutors in relation to the ideas of liminality and temporarily unbelonging. In the next part I put forward two representative (family) portraits in order to highlight details from individuals’ lives on a longer time perspective, while in the final part of this article I place the individual stories, sea imaginaries and people’s experiences with the maritime environment in dialogue with each other. This makes it possible to better understand the expectations, aspirations and experiences of my interlocutors and to discuss further the idea of temporarily unbelonging in practice.

KEYWORDS: the sea, biographical approach, lifestyle migration, Mediterranean, temporarily unbelonging

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