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Perception of home in the process of migration and transmigration : the experience of Russian teachers in Heihe, China : a thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Social Anthropology at Massey University, (Manawatu), New Zealand
By carrying out qualitative research, I explore the experience of being involved in transmigration and living on the border of two cultures. Three Russian teachers who work and live in Heihe, China were interviewed and asked how they redefine their practices of ‘home’ as transmigrants. Understanding of ‘home’ involves complex construction and reconstruction of ideas about ‘home’ which are unique for each individual and it is this that makes the basis for the comparison.
The research was based on material gathered mostly through one-on-one semi-structured interviews and participant observation. Each interviewee’s story shows that there are different strategies being applied by people living away from their original homes.
I explored the idea that these people develop their relationship to home through relating to both material and non-material aspects simultaneously. Therefore physical spaces, other materiality and food, and non-material aspects such as social networks, communication and practices are all interwoven. The research explored that ‘home’ involves both ‘fluidity’ and ‘fixedness’ of place. The experiences of this particular group of multi-local people and their relationship to ‘home’ and ‘host’ country will add a useful dimension to the understanding of other Russian migrants who live in Heihe. And in addition, the experiences of these people will add to general ideas about translocality in other countries across the world.