Sense of Place and Sense of Self in a world of increasing movement of people
Dugan, M, Sense of Place and Sense of Self in a world of increasing movement of people, Paper being presented at the 7th Global Conference on Pluralism, Inclusion & Citizenship, 13 March 2012, Prague, Czech Republic (2012) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]
Much sense of place discourse insists that people can have strong sense of place
with concomitant care of the environment only when they stay in one place. Yet,
millions of people relocate each year, voluntarily, or as a result of coercion or necessity. Such movement warrants asking how those transitions can be made with resilience, wellbeing, and environmental stewardship. Often inquiry is approached from a perspective either of sense of self or sense of place. In research on which this paper draws, I explore both, and relationship between these two in light of people’s ability to handle relocation. Drawing on more than thirty years praxis in the human potential field, I take lived experience as the ontological ground for numerous qualitative case studies and autoethnography. I examine the lives of several people who have moved many times and who come from diverse backgrounds and experiences of poverty, ostracism, exclusion, displacement, war, challenge and success. By exploring their experiences I seek to discover what can be learnt, and ask how that learning could be more generally applied to promote social wellbeing and environmental care in an increasingly mobile social order. Here, I outline current migration trends, and describe what happens when relocation is experienced with distress in order to share emergent understandings of how wellbeing might best be supported when people make such transitions. I then summarise one case study, and consider what it contributes to those understandings.