Cosmopolitans in a farmhouse

Return migration and the adaptation of habitus through the lens of a homemaking process


  • Krisztina Németh Research Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Budapest

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migration, social and spatial mobility, adaptation of habitus, homemaking, sense of (social) place, marginalised place


This paper is an attempt to offer a specific perspective on the interrelation and complexity of the spatial and social mobility trajectory and its multi-layered effects on habitus. This family case study is based on two semi-structured family history interviews. Its protagonist is a return migrant who is deeply embedded in the periphery (tanyavilág) of a Hungarian rural town. After spending almost fifteen years in the UK, she moved back to this relatively marginalised micro-place and bought an old farmhouse. The interpretation of her periodical migration trajectory focuses on the process of change in habitus and interprets the question of the ‘emotional cost’ of migration through the interrelation of spatial and social mobility. This perspective emphasises the spatial aspects of how mobility can dynamize the practical and emotional aspects of dislocation and belonging, while offering an insight into the adaptation of habitus. It is primarily examined through a homemaking process, which reveals the reconciliation of different place-based, family-inherited, and newly developed (migration-related) dispositions. This Bourdieusian interpretation shows that this home is a materialised reality as well as a symbol of social and spatial position. This harmonious ‘sense of (social) place’ (Hillier & Rocksby, 2002) can be grasped in terms of taste and lifestyle, revealing that ‘freedom of choice’ is the lived meaning of this intergenerational social mobility trajectory, which was fuelled by transnational migration.




How to Cite

Németh, K. 2022. Cosmopolitans in a farmhouse: Return migration and the adaptation of habitus through the lens of a homemaking process. Intersections. East European Journal of Society and Politics. 8, 2 (Jul. 2022), 100–119. DOI:



Social mobility