|Résumé :||The notion of deterritorialization occupies a central role in contemporary interpretations of immigrants’ home-related consumption engagements. Through their work on home maintenance, consumer researchers have unveiled a remarkable set of insights related to consumption patterns immigrants develop with the purpose of maintaining previous home-ties. Consumer researchers have for instance demonstrated how immigrants transform and get transformed by the home-related consumption goods available in host countries. The notion of home maintenance has been largely applied with the meaning of immigrants “keeping up” with a past life context they can no longer enjoy in contemporary home places. Yet, less attention has been devoted to migrants’ willingness to preserve existential connections with places of origin and/or childhood.
Drawing on the stories of 14 Latin American migrants living in Belgium, this doctoral research relativizes this deterritorialized perspective through the means of the philosophical notion of narrative identity. This philosophical point of view puts forward the open link that exists between current life stories and past experiences. Individuals reconfigure their own personal narratives by integrating both past and present experiences. Accordingly, there is a continuity of narrative that contrasts with frequent disruptions in life, implying a perpetual interpretation
and re-interpretation of one’s life. This exercise is not a self-reflecting process of an individual that is distinct from his or her cultural references. The construction of a personal narrative identity is also a dialogue with many others and their past and future stories. In the case of migrants, even many years after “successful” experiences of migration, they can experience recurring tendencies to return, homecoming tendencies. These tendencies, which are not necessarily aimed at a final and long term return, reflect the notion that preserving affiliations to one’s place of origin or childhood is not only a matter of consuming resources available in receiving contexts, but also of consuming and sharing with many others in places of origin. While Home maintenance relies heavily on migrant’s willingness and or capacity to remember home places as they were before they migrated. The homecoming tendencies notion, here proposed, is oriented towards migrants’ eagerness to constantly re-discover home places in their contemporary situations and towards their active goal for avoiding disappearing from view back home.