When it comes to migration, there is no level playing field. Some people are privileged, advantaged, and supported and others are marginalised, persecuted, and traumatised. The extension of the rights and equalities for which many people advocate, and provision of other extrinsic conditions are insufficient for wellbeing. This work asks: what is sufficient? What is it that people do—and can do—to change their experience from suffering to wellbeing when handling challenges of migration and other mobilities?
What helps people when they are migrating? What have migrants experienced and learned that could be useful to others facing challenges of mobility and change? How can this learning be applied to promote greater social wellbeing and care of environments, in an increasingly mobile world?
Mobilities of Self and Place documents rich conversations with regular migrants and refugees to critically consider migration history, human rights, place, self, and mobilities studies. The work explores ontological and epistemological questions of sense of self, sense of place, identity and agency. Mahni Dugan helps us understand how the relationship between sense of place and sense of self affects the ability of migrants to relocate with wellbeing. The movement from global to local, social to personal, intellectual to experiential offers a broad societal understanding of the phenomena and challenges of contemporary mobilities.
Mahni Dugan has a PhD in Human Geography and consults on research, writing, seminars and mentoring.
Part I: Conceptual Frames
1. Mobilities of Place and Self
2. Meta-Narratives and Agency
3. All the World is the Stage
Part II: Lived Experience
4. Regular Migrations
5. Irregular Migrations
6. Mobile Lives
Part III: Challenges of Resettlement
7. Settling in New Places
8. Dilemmas of Difference
9. Identity and Belonging
Part IV: Moving Forward
10. Vital Sensibilities
11. What Legacy Will We Leave?
Dugan, a research consultant, provides an ambitious and useful review of shifting ideas about sedentary versus mobile people and societies. Her dual concern is with self and place, and how migrants “shape their senses of self and place through their mobilities” (p. 77). In particular, she highlights the different ways that people relate to place, being dependent, independent, or interdependent. Her approach is eclectic, fostering a dialogue with the literature and with a set of 10 very interesting research participants who span the globe in terms of origins (Africa, Asia, Europe) and range of migration dynamics (immigrants and refugees). For many readers the crucial part of the book will be the research participants' articulate comments on the nature of mobility. The author represents them well and is attuned to how reflective and philosophical her interviewees can be. Although Dugan draws from several disciplines, her background in counseling steers her toward a concern with the agency of migrants and, particularly, how to “engender well-being [and provide] opportunity for both people and place to flourish” (p. 211). North American readers will benefit from the Australian context, although the book is framed globally. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, faculty, and professionals.