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Sense of Belonging and 'Home'

Many researches have emphasized the changing meaning of belonging and home in the context of migration, highlighting the stretching of their meaning between the local context of the destination country and global ties in relation to the country of destination and transnational ties formed by migration. For instance, some highlights the fact that belonging and home are defined in relation to everyday life experiences and even more precisely by social relations. Taking into account the new practices of migrants within specific places and societies, they argue that these notions are transformed through the experiences of migrants and their negotiation processes. Therefore, makes a case for the reconceptualising of home in relation to places that people inhabit with others. In other words, the meaning of home has shifted from the old paradigms that connect the issue of belonging with notions of mother tongue and fatherland. Home is now a dynamic concept which changes meanings between people. It is a multiple concept which is identified with the social world people live in. In this sense, it also includes a sense of self: young people’s relation to places and their experiences could make a place ‘home’. So, home is not necessarily a fixed and bounded place; it represents relationships to people.

In the case of second generation migrants from Turkey and Cyprus living in London, the country of origin is not the main place they spend most of their time and socialise: they have built their lives in the receiving country and are familiar with the social life and regulations of the receiving society. They were either born or raised in London from an early age. London represents everyday life for them as their schools, friends, and parents are based in London. They experience different forms of belonging in the places they interact and understand different aspects of the country of origin, the specific urban space in North London where they live, and London as a whole where they experience various cultures.

They make choices about what to accept and what to ignore in those places and create a space which mixes different elements of these places into one. Their social networks, social life, family, school, friendships, and habits are the main aspects in their definition of ‘home’. However, at the same time some considers living in the country of origin in the future. They have multiple homes which are transformed through the negotiation of the social life of the places they interact and their experiences within these places. Belonging is challenged and participation in social life in these places is negotiated. It is not based on young people’s national entitlement; it is associated with the everyday experiences of young people and the meaning they give to these places and their social world.

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