PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2019, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (6): 896-903.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2019.06.010

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The process of place identity iteration from a life-course perspective: An analysis of individual-family mobility

Li WANG(), Jianjun ZHANG   

  1. School of Geographical Sciences, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
  • Received:2018-11-08 Revised:2019-01-15 Online:2019-06-28 Published:2019-06-27
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 41801155;Open Project for Research Center for Economy of Upper Reaches of the Yangtze River, Key Research Base of Humanities and Social Sciences of Ministry of Education, No. KFJJ2018005;Chongqing Social Science Planning Project, No. 2018QNSH43.


Driven by the social process of modernization and urbanization, place identity is undergoing transition and iteration. Different from other sectional studies of place identity from a static perspective, the authors adopted a dynamic perspective based on the life-course theory and mobility of home. The authors selected an individual and his family with a life span of 70 years as the research subject, tracked the change of their place identity with migration and through time, and analyzed its social meaning with a life-history approach. The conclusion is that, place identity undergoes dynamic changes, including transition and iteration during spatiotemporal transition and life experience accumulation, in the process of rural-urban migration of the earliest Guangzhou migrants, Mr. Y and his family (the individual-family subject). This dynamic change connects tightly with the mobility of home. While migrating, the individual and his family members produced place resistance and place thrust, which combined and resulted in the iteration of place identity. Social environment and social scenes, family roles, cultural adaptation, and individual behavior adjustments are important factors influencing place identity iteration in the process of urbanization. This case study also found that, the changes of family types and generation gap could affect the extent to which place identity iteration occur. Therefore: 1) Place identity is not a static sense of place. It will dynamically transform and iterate with the change of time and space and the layering of life experience. 2) The individual-family life course is an important dimension to elaborate and interpret the local economic and social development. The flow of the family is the basis for uncovering the iterative process of place identity. Because the flow of the family connects different places, the life and personality of the family members brand different localities in the process of flow, and then place identity changes dynamically. 3) Different macro geographic conditions are the binding conditions for the iterative change of individual-family place identity. The more places experienced by individual-family, the more likely that the place identity has an iterative process.

Key words: mobility, alien land, homeland, urban-rural migration, urbanization, family