Always Elsewhere: On Longing and Palermo
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This research paper explores the implications of returning to a cultural homeland. Using an autoethnographical approach, this paper follows my own recent ‘return’ to my mother’s city of Palermo, Sicily. By using personal experience to examine notions of home and belonging, this paper aims to articulate the dislocation and resultant longing for lost homelands experienced by the second-generation migrant child. It looks at concepts of exile and home, and feelings of unbelonging in one’s own birth country. Along with personal reflection, the methodology includes both theoretical and literary research, in addition to various personal accounts of the second-generation migrant experience. In questioning the nature of cultural nostalgia, this paper challenges the notion of a ‘true homeland’, and observes the impact of holding multiple cultural ties on identity and the self.