Place, Displacement and Belonging: The Story of Abdi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In traditional geopolitical discourses, an individual’s very being is routinely tied to and predicated upon the sanctity of the individual’s nation-state. The global refugee regime operates upon this assumption and regulates those who have been forcibly displaced from their homelands. Feminist geopolitics offers a way to see beyond the rigid boundaries of nation-states and attend to the embodied, lived, intimate and everyday experiences of people and their situated realities in any given time/space intersection. In this article, I explore questions of place and displacement through the story of one man’s journey from his village in Somalia to his eventual resettlement in Tucson, Arizona. Through Abdi’s story, this article seeks to contribute to geographic understanding of the immanence of place to self as it relates to displacement and forced mobility. Abdi’s story and his journey from Migwa to Tucson illustrate the nomad potential of his connection and disconnection to various places he has inhabited. His story and lived experience provide a nuanced example of the context of human relations with the places they inhabit and how these relations are much more fluid and porous than that assumed in the model of the ‘geographical self’- the self that is deeply rooted in and defined by places. This story-based approach reclaims human agency in the dyadic connection between place and self and centers individual experience in a geographic study of forced mobility and displacement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)462-477
Number of pages16
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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