HAU

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

Katy Gardner

Abstract


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.


Keywords


migration, Bangladesh, happiness, Londoni

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14318/hau5.3.011