Fluidity and flexibility of ‘‘belonging’’: Uses of the concept in contemporary research
Lähdesmäki, T., Saresma, T., Hiltunen, K., Jäntti, S., Sääskilahti, N., Vallius, A., & Ahvenjärvi, K. (2016). Fluidity and flexibility of ‘‘belonging’’: Uses of the concept in contemporary research. Acta Sociologica, 59 (3), 233-247. doi:10.1177/0001699316633099
Julkaistu sarjassaActa Sociologica
© The Author(s) 2016. This is a final draft version of an article whose final and definitive form has been published by SAGE Publications. Published in this repository with the kind permission of the publisher.
Studies framing “belonging” as a key focus and a central concept of research have increased significantly in the 2000s. This article explores the dimensions of belonging as a scholarly concept. The investigation is based on a qualitative content analysis of articles published in academic journals covering a large number of different disciplines. The article poses and answers the following research questions: How is belonging understood and used in contemporary research? What added value does the concept bring to scholarly discussions? In the analysis, five topoi of conceptualizing belonging – spatiality, intersectionality, multiplicity, materiality, and non-belonging – were identified. After introducing the topoi, the article explores their cross-cutting dimensions, such as the emphasis on the political, emotional, and affective dimensions of belonging, and discusses key observations made from the data, such as the substantial proportion of research on minorities and “vulnerable” people. The analysis of the data suggests that by choosing to use the concept of belonging, scholars seek to emphasize the fluid, unfixed, and processual nature of diverse social and spatial attachments. ...