The Great Departure: Rethinking National(ist) Common Sense Dace Dzenovska


This article argues that, in order to overcome the national(ist) common sense that continues to haunt everyday political and scholarly interpretations of mobility, scholars need not diagnose nationalism with greater vigour, but should rather move beyond facile diagnoses of nationalism. The article calls for a meticulous tracing of relations and practices of emplacement and displacement that ubiquitous national(ist) interpretive frames both co-opt and exceed simultaneously. The argument is elaborated on the basis of an analysis of historical articulations of emplacement and displacement in Latvian understandings of ‘the good life’. The article pays particular attention to the ways in which the figure of the migrant has emerged historically as an aberration to Latvian understandings of the good life. It also considers how this ethical configuration is being unsettled through massive labour migration to Western Europe—or ‘the Great Departure’.

Dzenovska, D. (2013) ‘The Great Departure: Rethinking National(ist) Common Sense’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 39(2): 201-218