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Date and Time: Thursday, 15th February, 2024 at 18:00h GMT

Online: Access details below

Onsite: Room 06/07, Faculty of English, West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DP


The fifth Greek Dialogues seminar of the 2023-24 season is a double-hander with Dr. Petros Karatsareas (University of Westminster) and Rexhina Ndoci (PhD Candidate at The Ohio State University) examining the importance of language in stories of migration.

Scholars in migration studies have identified language as a key element that shapes the fragmented and temporary experiences of onward migrants (OMs) (McIlwaine, 2020; Della Puppa, 2021; Ahrens & King, 2022). Onward migration, however, remains underexplored from a (socio)linguistic point of view. In this talk, we take a close look at how OMs position themselves with respect to forms of categorisation they face in their biographies and the key role that their linguistic repertoires play in these processes.

We draw our insights from the thematic analysis of the transcripts of focus group sessions that we facilitated with thirteen individuals who migrated from Albania to Greece as children and from Greece to the UK as adults. We take an auto-socio-bioethnographic approach (Busch, 2022), centering participants as agentive subjects who narrate, communicate, and deliberate on their lived experiences of legal, socioeconomic, and linguistic inequalities such as the ones that are created by (onward) migration and processes of categorisation (Flubacher & Purkarthofer, 2022).

The OMs in our focus groups contested ideologically-, politically-, and legally motivated categories that were imposed on them by others and which called attention only to part(s) of their biographies and migratory experiences. They discursively constructed a new hybrid category that reflected their complex experiences of mobility. Creative language mixing and strategic mobilisation of Albanian, Greek, and English to achieve many different life goals and needs not only distinguished OMs from Greek-born Greeks and Albanian-born Albanians but also rendered them unintelligible to these two ‘prototypical’ groups. A new liminal, translanguaging space (Li Wei, 2011) at the intersection of Albanian and Greek migration was therefore carved out, which participants occupied alongside other Albanian OMs from Greece in the UK.

Ahrens, Jill & Russell King. 2022. Onward Migration and Multi-Sited Transnationalism: Complex Trajectories, Practices and Ties. Cham: Springer.

Busch, Brigitta. 2022. A few remarks on working with auto-socio-bio-ethnography. In Judith Purkarthofer & Mi-Cha Flubacher (eds.), Speaking Subjects in Multilingualism Research: Biographical and Speaker-Centred Approaches, 290–303. Bristol/Jackson: Multilingual Matters.

Della Puppa, Francesco. 2021. Italian-Bangladeshi in London: a community within a community? Migration Letters 18:1, 35–47.

Flubacher, Mi-Cha & Judith Purkarthofer. 2022. Speaking subjects in multilingualism research: biographical and speaker-centred approaches. In Judith Purkarthofer & Mi-Cha Flubacher (eds.), Speaking Subjects in Multilingualism Research:
Biographical and Speaker-Centred Approaches, 3–20. Bristol/Jackson: Multilingual Matters. 

Online Access Details

Topic: Greek Dialogues - Fragmented trajectories, hybrid categories, and translanguaging spaces: Experiences of Albanian onward migrants from Greece in the UK
Time: Thursday 15th February, 2024 at 18:00h GMT

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Meeting ID: 920 0266 2493
Passcode: 167723


Livestreaming on:

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Thursday, 15 February, 2024 - 18:00
Event location: 
Online and Room 06/07, Faculty of English, West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DP