Ruth Behar’s musings on home are especially pertinent at this point of time, when perhaps as many as 200 million people may be living outside the country of their birth. And when people are travelling more than ever before.
Ms Behar says, the transient places that the French anthropologist Marc Augé has called ‘non-places’ (airports, shopping malls, hotels, highways, bus terminals, and subways) have radically changed the concept of home. She’s got a point but probably not quite the one she intends.
The ‘non-places’, she argues, are expanding from centres to peripheries all around the world and home is beginning to be the place we go enroute to elsewhere. “Home is where you do your laundry, run to the dentist to get your teeth cleaned, and frantically rest your weary bones before embarking on the next odyssey.”
But isn’t that what home always was? A refuge. To the displaced and the permanently in place.