"Home Tonight? What? Where?" An Exploratory Study of the Meanings of House, Home and Family Among the Former Vietnamese Refugees in a Canadian City

Huyen Dam, John Eyles


This article explores the meaning of place and home among Vietnamese refugees now settled in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada: a situation shared by the first author. We begin with a review of the meaning of place and home and their possible implications for this group. Initially designed as a case study, the research process was influenced by the conventional paradigm assumptions of an emerging design and was later transformed into an autoethnography as the first author journeyed to Vietnam and reflected on her experience, as well as that of her 12 respondents. The first author's own journey to understand home played a critical part in this investigation. Her tacit knowledge together with the stories of these 12 refugees reflect a co-created understanding of home—a definition that is characterized by a process of being uprooted, relocated and embedded into place. Yet at the core of home, its comprehension and value is grounded in culture and family, and as this article suggests, these two factors enable home to remain fluid for these migrants.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1202193


refugees; culture; identity; place; autoethnography

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-13.2.1696

Copyright (c) 2012 Huyen Dam, John Eyles

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