Hearts in Australia, Souls in Nepal

Migration and Affective Intergenerational Aspirations


  • Amrita Limbu Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University




migration, aspirations, emotions, intergenerational, Australia, Nepal, affective


This article focuses on the intergenerational nature of migrants’ aspirations and the emotions that attach to them. Drawing on Ahmed’s (2014) notion of “affective economies” that emphasises that emotions circulate and accumulate affective value, I show how aspirations attached to migration or the “mobile aspirations” (Robertson, Cheng, & Yeoh 2018) are affectively experienced by their family. While studies have explored aspirations for permanent residency (PR) in the West, as well as the pathways to PR, less is documented of how parents experience their children’s migration aspirations, including for PR abroad. This article addresses this particular gap. Taking the case of Nepali education migrants in Australia and their transnational families, I explore the parents’ emotions when their children aspire for PR overseas. I argue that migration aspirations create a different kind of intergenerational affective economy between parents and children. This article is based on a multi-sited ethnography among Nepali education migrants in Sydney, Australia and their families in Nepal.


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How to Cite

Limbu, A. (2022) “Hearts in Australia, Souls in Nepal : Migration and Affective Intergenerational Aspirations”, Culture Unbound, 13(2), pp. 204–225. doi: 10.3384/cu.3289.



Special Section: Cultural Research from Australia