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Journal Article

The linear imagination, stalled: changing temporal horizons in migrant journeys


Amrith,  Megha       
Research Group Ageing in a Time of Mobility, MPI for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Max Planck Society;

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Amrith, M. (2021). The linear imagination, stalled: changing temporal horizons in migrant journeys. Global Networks: A Journal of Transnational Affairs, 21(1), 127-145. doi:10.1111/glob.12280.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-9E12-5
In this article, I engage with a growing interest in questions of time in the study of migration to consider how changing temporal horizons in migrant journeys play an important role in shaping multilocal migration imaginaries. I draw on two ethnographic cases with migrant care workers from the Philippines, of different gener-ations and at different points of their migration journeys, to examine how initially held linear imaginaries of migration become confounded and stuck over time. Snapshots of migrant lives at these different points of the journey – ‘(pre)-departures’, ‘stepping stones’, ‘settling’ – reveal how migrants’ temporal horizons shift as a consequence of changing state and political-economic conditions, as well as migrants’ own dynamic subjective and affective engagements. New uncertainties, possibilities and dilemmas unfold and initial linear imaginaries give way instead to those that are open-ended and asynchronous. A temporal perspective reveals that mobilities are not marked by a beginning and an end but rather involve ongoing, multiple and provisional journeys across locales and over time and the life course.