Visual and Verbal Strategies of Belonging and Distance in Migration

Friday, 20 July 2018: 11:30
Oral Presentation
Faime ALPAGU, University of Vienna, Austria
This presentation deals with the ambivalence of building belonging to a “we-group” and distancing oneself from the group at the same time. The paper aims to juxtapose the way how this ambivalence is handled in visual and verbal narratives. How do “guest workers” build a “we-group” and how do they distance themselves from the group? What kind of relationship do the so called guest workers have to the family, other workers, “host country” and country of origin?

The proposed abstract is part of a PhD project, which deals with “guest worker” photographs and letters that were sent back to family members in Turkey from the 1960s to the late 1980s. These photos and letters are to be complemented with official documents (e.g., working certificates) and recently conducted biographic-narrative interviews. Consequently, this ensures that the complexity of the interaction between the following dimensions is given: verbal or written/visual, now/then, private/official and here/there.

The project follows a reconstructive approach by triangulating interpretative methods such as biographical case reconstruction (Rosenthal, 2005) and visual segment analysis (Breckner, 2010). Of particular interest are interacting narratives created by biographical interviews, photos, letters and documents that provide information about migration experiences.