Being marked as different: The emotional politics of experiences of depression and migrant belongings

Renata Kokanovic, Senka Bozic-Vrbancic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This article asks the question: "What does it mean to think about 'home' and 'belonging' when migratory experience is enmeshed with the story of depression?". The article focuses on the personal story of a woman who migrated from the United States (US) to Australia, and whose sense of disconnection and displacement in relation to everyday life is embedded within a narrative of depression. Our discussion of her twin narratives of emotional distress and migration is located within theoretical debates about depression, migration and the constitution of subjectivity. In particular, we draw on psychoanalytical approaches to subjectivity to argue that her emotional distress and the medical diagnosis of depression together represent a form of 'experienc[ing] oneself as a subject' (Butler, 2005), and function as a precondition to her narrative of migration. Ultimately, we conclude, the woman's intertwined narratives of depression and migration operate simultaneously to provide retroactive order to her subjectivity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number356
Pages (from-to)130-137
Number of pages8
JournalEmotion, Space and Society
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Anxiety and subjectivity
  • Depression and migration
  • Illness life stories
  • Jacques Lacan
  • Judith Butler

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