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Seasons of migrations to the North: a study of biographies and narrative identities in US-Mexican and Swedish-Chilean return movements
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.
2000 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this thesis is to examine dynamics and consequences of geographical return movements in two North-South contexts based on migrants' biographies. The thesis examines the consequences of return migration in terms of social mobility, meanings of return and the shaping of identity-place relationships for the subjects of migration. Categories of return were identified and related to evolving migration processes in the two case studies of long term labour migration and political exile respectively. The concept of 'narrative identity' was used to analyse the shaping of the migration biographies and to examine the ways migrants made sense of their experiences of emigration/exile and return. In a further step the narrative identities were discussed in relation to examples of public narratives in the two contexts.

The dissertation's case study of US-Mexican migration showed that geographical return took different shapes at the local level as the

migration process evolved between the studied municipality in Mexico and different destinations in the USA. The initial phase of formative return led to the gradual establishment of a migration tradition and development of a remittance economy. Return movements turned in a later phase into an increasingly trapped migratory pattern of differentiated circulation between the municipality in Mexico and different locations in the USA. The 'narrative identities' of returning migrants were related to family situations (family formation, safety of the family, family commitment), perceptions of real life in Mexico and work identities (respected worker, independent businessman), negative experiences of migration (threat, social degradation, trapped migration), and the search and fulfilment of personal experiences. These narrative identities were contrasted with public narratives, showing the partial incorporation of some public narratives and contrasting senses of self of migrants in relation to 'imposed identities' in both the USA and Mexico.

The second case study of the dissertation identified categories of return movements in a context of changing conditions in both Chile and Sweden. Examples of categories were 'conditional return' and 'programmed return' and in the phase of

desexilio professional circulation, continued exile and everyday life circulation. The narrative identities of retornados were related to family situations (children's future and education, the extended family and the family vote), Sweden as 'parenthesis' (programmed return, duty to return, political return, personal return), work identities (independent businessman, professional circulation) and experiences of exclusion (foreigner, immigrant, prolonged political exile). The narrative identities of migrants were discussed in relation to larger public narratives about retornados in the Chilean media.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2000. , 235 p.
GERUM, ISSN 1402-5205 ; 2000:3
Keyword [en]
Return migration, US-Mexican labour migration, Chilean exile in Sweden, desexilio, biographies, circulation, grounded theory, narrative identity
National Category
Human Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-67022ISBN: 91-7191-799-3OAI: diva2:614985
Public defence
2000-05-05, Samhällsvetarhuset, Hörsal B, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:15
Available from: 2013-04-08 Created: 2013-03-11 Last updated: 2014-01-21Bibliographically approved

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Tollefsen Altamirano, Aina
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