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The path to happiness? Prosperity, suffering, and transnational migration in Britain and Sylhet

Gardner, Katy (2015) The path to happiness? Prosperity, suffering, and transnational migration in Britain and Sylhet. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, 5 (3). pp. 197-214. ISSN 2049-1115

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Identification Number: 10.14318/hau5.3.011


In this article I discuss the relationship between migration and happiness via the life stories of members of a Bangladeshi family who for several generations have been involved in transnational migration between their rural home in Sylhet and a city in Northern England. Rather than to seek definitive answers concerning whether or not migration makes my interlocutors happy—as we shall see, the answers to this are highly subjective and ever changing—my intention is to ask what we might learn about both migration and happiness by considering how journeys purportedly undertaken in order to increase well-being so often lead instead to sadness, loss, and dislocation. In particular, I use Sara Ahmed’s framing of “happiness projects” to address the contradictions and ambivalence that lie at the emotional heart of transnational migration.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 The Author © CC BY 4.0
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2015 10:20
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 03:20
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council, Department for International Development

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