Topic: Immobility under the busy surface of ‘micromobilities’: Embodied survival practices and mobility trajectories in a multiply marginalised place in Hungary
Keywords: rural marginalization, use of space, bodily practices, habitus, social and spatial (im)mobility
The presentation summarizes the first empirical results of a postdoctoral research, Marginality and (Im)mobility: the dynamic of habitus, which examines patterns of social and spatial mobility in different marginalized micro-localities in four Hungarian ’rural’ towns throughout life and family history interviews. One of the micro-localities in a town of 50,000 inhabitants called ’Orange groove’, which is an ironical nickname used by the locals. It refers for the old glory of the historical monument, which served first as a garrison, than a social housing unit. Now it gives shelter for various marginalized groups including some formal residents (tenants of social housing program), residents of the homeless shelter, and informal residents living in the already closed, run-down dwellings within the complex of building. This place is a shelter, but its shady corners also give rise to various informal practices, which invite residents to play with (in)visibility.
A sociological fieldwork based on semi-structured interviews and observation aimed to scrutinize residents’ life and habitation trajectories, and lived experiences of marginalization. Observations unfolded how different dispositions and feelings organize people’s everyday practices, mode of operations; how they become interiorized, embodied and how people’s use of space tell about their lives. The fieldwork revealed that ’Orange groove’ was a kind of ’buffer zone’ over the last decades between this town of the Hungarian countryside and the nearby villages. This ‘buffer zone’ consequently forms of a stable ‘rurban marginality’, which is reproduced and maintained by informal relations and institutional practices.
The presentation aims to look behind the busy surface of the observed movements, embodied practices, ‘micromobilities’ and to reveal the overwhelming social immobility and increasing marginalization of its residents. The explanation also tries to shed a light on how these movements constitute this specific place and how the local representation of ‘Orange groove’ shapes life chances of its residents.