Traditionally, the idea of home has been interpreted as central to people’s lives and identities, connecting them to specific places of origin, communities or cultures. However, some scholars have suggested that the changes taking place in today’s contemporary society - such as increased opportunities for mobility - have weakened these long-standing attachments to place and home. This phenomenon seems especially relevant for the lives of young people navigating transnational fields, as their processes of transition into adulthood take place in parallel with a transition from home to a transnational environment. Thus, the ways in which young adults connect to the idea of home may have a significant impact on their identity development away from home. Drawing on a transnational perspective, this study aims to answer the question: what is the role and importance of home in the life narratives of highly educated transnational young adults in today’s increasingly globalised and mobile society? For this investigation, I conducted semi-structured qualitative interviews with 15 respondents currently residing in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The narrative analysis of data revealed several notable patterns. First, spaces of home emerge as highly relevant in the life narratives of transnational youths. In line with the born and bred discourse, the childhood home continues to provide young people with a connection to the place of origin. Second, mobility experiences are often perceived as “leaving home” in order to pursue their own identity projects and make independent homes. This narrative of development seems especially important as part of young people’s transition into adulthood. In addition, early experiences of home and mobility seem to shape how young adults relate to place later in life. Third, the narratives analysed revealed combination of classical and new discourses that young adults employ to describe their understandings of home and mobility, including the established born and bred, progression and coupledom narratives and the emerging self-development (or Bildung) narrative. Overall, it appears that young adults’ connections to place are not becoming weaker, but rather are reinterpreted and negotiated during their transnational relocations. The various homes inhabited by young people are integrated in their life stories, prompting different types of attachments through memories, feelings and relationships with other individuals.

Additional Metadata
Keywords sociology of culture, sociology of media, sociology of the arts, Transnationalism, Young Adulthood, Place, Mobility, Narrative Identity
Thesis Advisor S. Reijnders
Persistent URL
Series MA - Sociology of Culture, Media and the Arts
V. Balan. (2019, June 21). Relocating the Narrative Self - An analysis of transnational migration experiences among highly educated young adults. MA - Sociology of Culture, Media and the Arts. Retrieved from