Authors: Renata Kokanovic

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Renata Kokanovic

Associate Professor

School of Political & Social Inquiry

Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Caulfield East VIC 3145



Senka Božić-Vrbančić

Associate Professor

Department of English,

University of Zadar, Croatia

Obala Kralja Petra Kresimira IV/2


Abstract: 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?” by drawing on a life story narrated by 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. We locate our discussion of her narrative of emotional distress and migration within theoretical debates about depression, migration and the constitution of subjectivity. We argue that her emotional distress and the medical diagnosis of depression could be seen as a way ‘to experience oneself as a subject’ (Butler 2005) and they function as the precondition for providing her narrative of migration, Both of these narratives simultaneously provide retroactive order to her subjectivity. They function as double gaze for her own identity which is experienced as a loss (loss of her ‘home’, loss of oneself ) in a search for happiness.


Keywords: depression and migration; illness life stories; anxiety and subjectivity, Judith Butler; Jacques Lacan;

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