Making Sense of Spaces

Life-passages of First-Generation Algerian Women Living in Paris

My project explores the lived experiences in terms of feeling (emotions), acting (practices) and imagining of first generation maghrebian women living in Paris. More specifically, it argues that their relation to urban places is a key point to understand, in a phenomenological way, their „being-in-the-world“. By exploring how different experiences are lived in contexts of displacement and migration, I investigate how the initial sensory and emotional connections between the subject and the place-world become established: experiencing new places transforms perception and increases sensitivity to our surroundings, akin to „à fleur de peau“.

Immigration often refers to more than one space, the one of origin and that of arrival. However, we do not concentrate much on the places in between, those of the lived experiences. As Paris is not simply the place of arrival, migrants are not only migrants. To push this idea further, if we want to understand the experience of migration we need to understand the migrants as made by multi-layered identities, as complex human beings that act, feel, imagine. This is precisely why I refer to practices, emotions and imagination.

The project employs a first-person phenomenological perspective in order to highight the lived experiences and issues facing maghrebian migrant women, and emphasizes the practical rather than conceptual basis for making ethnographic claims