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Return migration in later life

Return migration in later life: International perspectives

Edited by John Percival
Copyright Date: 2013
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  • Book Info
    Return migration in later life
    Book Description:

    There is increasing evidence that migrants who return in later life to their country or region of origin have not always thought through the personal, practical, and social implications of their decisions. This timely book explores this neglected subject in an era of ageing and more mobile societies and contains ground-breaking studies of migration flows of older people in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, South Asia, and Australia, to explain how and why people in later life return to their country of origin. It brings together a fusion of social gerontology, anthropology, migration, and human geography perspectives that explore the complex, and sometimes conflicting, themes of family ties and their emotive strengths; comparative quality and cost of health and welfare provision in host and home countries; life course transitions and cultural affinity with homeland; and psychological adjustment, belonging and attachment to place. This important book fills a gap in the market by raising important health and wellbeing implications and will be of interest to government departments, agencies working with and for older people, policy developers, research bodies, students in the above disciplines, and the tourism industry.

    eISBN: 978-1-4473-0123-3
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. List of tables and figures
    (pp. v-v)
  4. Notes on contributors
    (pp. vi-ix)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. x-x)
  6. ONE Charting the waters: return migration in later life
    (pp. 1-20)
    John Percival

    The main objective of this book is to explore the motivations, decision-making processes and consequences, when older people consider or actualise return migration to their place of origin; and also to raise the public policy profile of this increasingly important subject. The collection will examine in detail a range of themes affecting return migrations, including: autonomy and personal imperatives; socioeconomic considerations; cultural assimilation and psychological adjustment; belonging and attachment to place; kinship and friendship needs; and health and resource planning.

    Return Migration in Later Lifeis unusual in four important ways. First, the collection has a wide remit and does...

  7. TWO Older immigrants leaving Sweden
    (pp. 21-42)
    Martin Klinthäll

    Most research on temporary migration deals with labour migration by young people and large-scale quantitative studies of international return migration in old age are few. This study is the first to analyse patterns of old-age return migration in the complete immigrant population in a single country over a longer time period. The study analyses return migration from Sweden among immigrants 55 years or older during the period 1990–2007, a period of globalisation and increasing international mobility (United Nations, 2009). The study addresses the question of labour market attachment and return migration in later life.

    Earlier studies have shown that...

  8. THREE Place and residence attachments in Canada’s older population
    (pp. 43-66)
    K Bruce Newbold

    Over the past two decades, the literature associated with migration in the context of older people has provided increasing detail regarding motivations for migrations, spatial patterns and migration propensities within this age group. Among older people, motivations often include amenity-oriented migration among the ‘young old’ at the time of retirement or shortly afterward (Longino, 1979; Litwack and Longino, 1987), kin-oriented migrations, such as the return of African Americans from the north to the south (Stack, 1996), and migrations associated with dependency or health needs as individuals age (Longino and Serow, 1992; Hayward, 2000; Hayward and Lazarowich, 2001). Amenity or ‘lifestyle’...

  9. FOUR Ageing immigrants and the question of return: new answers to an old dilemma?
    (pp. 67-88)
    Claudio Bolzman

    This chapter explores dilemmas that immigrants from Italy and Spain may face, when nearing retirement in Switzerland and considering their future country of residence. In particular, the chapter examines these dilemmas from two complementary theoretical perspectives: institutional and transnational. I will briefly discuss these perspectives before accounting for the methods employed in two particular studies, the themes and criteria arising from them, and implications for different models of return.

    The works of Sayad (1991, 1999) in France and of Dietzel-Papakyriakou (1993, 2001) in Germany are representative of the institutional perspective. According to this perspective, structure, and especially States’ modes of...

  10. FIVE Caribbean return migration in later life: family issues and transnational experiences as influential pre-retirement factors
    (pp. 89-112)
    Dennis Conway, Robert B Potter and Godfrey St Bernard

    In this chapter we widen the scope of research enquiry into Caribbean return migration in later life and empirically examine the case of Caribbean pre-retirement and retirement return migration so that the behavioural dynamics of retirement return migration are explained more completely, if contingently. The migrant’s flexibility of options is given more credence, family ties and obligations are shown to definitely ‘matter’ and transnational experiences and practices are additional influential determining factors for retirement-related return migration. In short, we seek to expand our understanding of the patterns and processes of lifecourse planning that underline retirement return migration in the contemporary...

  11. SIX ‘We belong to the land’: British immigrants in Australia contemplating or realising their return ‘home’ in later life
    (pp. 113-140)
    John Percival

    Dorothea Mackellar’s poem, of which the above is the final verse, was written when she was homesick in England, far away from her birthplace in Australia. It is an iconic and romantic rendition, which evocatively recalls the pastoral landscape of England before rejoicing in Australia’s more rugged geography and the poet’s love for this homeland. The poem was given to me in Australia by one of my British born respondents, who, like many featured in this chapter, recognised its underlying sentiments, most particularly those enshrined in the final verse, although in their case ‘homing thoughts’ were to a more lush...

  12. SEVEN Diasporic returns to the city: Anglo-Indian and Jewish visits to Calcutta in later life
    (pp. 141-160)
    Alison Blunt, Jayani Bonnerjee and Noah Hysler-Rubin

    The city is a central focus of research on diasporic resettlement, with studies of urban cosmopolitanism and/or multiculturalism alongside work on urban policy, employment, the built environment, consumption, and cultural and artistic practice. Less attention has been paid, however, to the city as a site of diasporic return. While research on return visits and return migrations is diverse and wide-ranging, including historical research on migrant homecomings (Gowans, 2001; Harper, 2005; Wyman, 2005) alongside more contemporary research on first- and second-generation returns (King and Christou, 2010), the repatriation of refugees (Hammond, 2004) and ‘heritage tourism (Basu, 2007), most of this work...

  13. EIGHT Returning to ‘roots’: Estonian-Australian child migrants visiting the homeland
    (pp. 161-178)
    Brad Ruting

    As we have seen in previous chapters, ageing migrants can yearn to go back to their homeland. In many cases, having been separated by large physical distances and periods of time, this feeling tends to grow stronger and stronger (Baldassar, 2001). Some eventually move back to the homeland but the large majority do not. Rather, they engage with its emotional pull by making return visits, journeying back and forth between their country of birth and country of residence (Baldassar, 2001; Stephenson, 2002; Coles and Timothy, 2004). These trips are an important way of maintaining connections to the homeland, and building...

  14. NINE Ageing in the ancestral homeland: ethno-biographical reflections on return migration in later life
    (pp. 179-194)
    Anastasia Christou

    This chapter is based on a wider research project exploring first and second generation Greek-Danes and their experiences of migration, identity, gender, home and belonging in Denmark and Greece. The study used a multi-method approach based on qualitative, ethnographic, life history, narrative and biographical methodologies. During participant life story narrations and focus group discussions, experiences, feelings, thoughts, reflections and personal information were shared and recorded. From 2004 to 2005 a total of 40 participants contributed to the study¹; the 16 participants aged between 50 and 85 are the focus of this chapter.

    In this chapter I have chosen to follow...

  15. TEN ‘The past is a foreign country’: vulnerability to mental illness among return migrants
    (pp. 195-218)
    Gerard Leavey and Johanne Eliacin

    A recent report by the United Nations Development Programme (2009) provided an estimate of 740 million internal migrations and 214 million international migrations worldwide. Significantly, most international migrants moved from one developing country to another or between developed countries, just over a third moved from a developing to a developed country (OECD, 2009). The high level of involuntary migrations caused by global warming and natural disasters, armed conflicts, political tension, deportation and illegal human trafficking are not expected to diminish. With such a high level of geographic mobility the need to record and explore the changes that occur as a...

  16. ELEVEN The blues of the ageing retornados: narratives on the return to Chile
    (pp. 219-240)
    Erik Olsson

    The exiled migrant, who after many years is able to return to his or her former homeland, may have ambiguous feelings, related, for instance, to the drama of being forced to leave the homeland and to the dreams and longings accumulated in exile. This may also carry with it a dilemma, given development of social bonds in the host country during their time in exile. This creates a dynamic situation, one that the key-persons in this study, diasporic Chileans in Sweden, are familiar with. Nowadays, return migration is receiving increasing attention in the research literature but theoretically there is still...

  17. TWELVE Concluding reflections
    (pp. 241-248)
    John Percival

    The collection of chapters in this book provides a substantial contribution to our knowledge of return migration in later life. In particular, this book has provided material and analysis that shows how return migration in later life often involves a complex calculation in which certain factors may all claim attention, and be weighed in the balance, when contemplating, deciding on, or enacting, return. At stake are critical issues, including: family ties, obligations and their emotive strengths; comparative quality, and cost, of health and welfare provision in host and home countries; and older age transitions and cultural affinity with homeland.


    (pp. 249-252)
  19. Index
    (pp. 253-262)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 263-263)