Skip to main content

‘This is My Home’

Pakistani and Polish Migrants’ Return Considerations as Articulations About ‘Home’

Abstract

Considerations about return are a persistent dimension of identity work in migrant populations. The question of where and what constitutes ‘home’ for migrants is central to understanding processes of integration, sustained transnational ties, and return considerations, because reflections about ‘home’ are reflective of belonging. Based on analysis of migrants’ and descendants reflections about the possibility of return migration, this paper asks: how is ‘home’ located in the transnational social field, and in which ways do the mutually overlapping spatial, temporal, emotional and rational dimensions of home matter? The paper draws on semi-structured interviews and focus groups with a total of 75 migrants and descendants from Pakistan and Poland living in Norway. Data from the two migrant groups with distinct migration histories are combined. Perhaps surprisingly, more similarities than differences are found between the two groups, with regard to their reflections about belonging. Considerations about return are found to be revealing of changing perspectives on home. For many there is an inherent ambivalence, reflected in home being located here, or there, or both, or neither. However, both migrants’ and descendants exert agency in their own ways of locating ‘home’ and managing the spatial, temporal, emotional and rational dimensions involved.

References

  • Al Ali, N. & Koser, K. (eds) (2002) New Approaches to Migration? Transnational Communities and the Transformation of Home, London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ali, L. & Sonn, C. C. (2010) ‘Constructing Identity as a Second-Generation Cypriot Turkish in Australia: The Multi-hyphenated Other’, Culture & Psychology, 16(3): 416–436.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Anthias, F. (2002) ‘Where do I belong? Narrating collective identity and translocational positionality’, Ethnicities, 2(4): 491–514.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Baldassar, L. (2007) ‘Transnational families and the provision of moral and emotional support: The relationship between truth and distance’, Identities, 14(7): 385–409.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Blom, S. & Henriksen, K. (2008) ‘Levekår blant innvandrere i Norge 2005/2006’. Oslo-Kongsvinger, Statistics Norway.

    Google Scholar 

  • Blunt, A. & Dowling, R (2006) Home, New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bolognani, M. (2007) ‘The myth of return: dismissal, survival or revival? A Bradford example of transnationalism as a poltical instrument’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 33(1): 59–76.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bolognani, M. (2014) ‘Visits to the country of origin: how second-generation British Pakistanis shape transnational identity and maintain power asymmetries’, Global Networks, 14(1): 103–120.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brah, A. (1996) Cartographies of Diaspora: Contesting Identities, London: Taylor and Francis.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brubaker, R & Cooper, F. (2000) ‘Beyond ‘identity’’, Theory and Society, 29(1): 1–47.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Carling, J. (2008) ‘The human dynamics of migrant transnationalism’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 31(8): 1452–1477.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Carling, J. & Hoelscher, K. (2013) ‘Capacity and Desire to Remit: Comparing Local and Transnational Influences’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 39(6): 939–958.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Carling, J. & Pettersen, S. V. (in press (2014)) ‘Immigrant integration, transnationalism, and return migration intentions’, International Migration.

  • Charsley, K. (2007) ‘Risk, trust, gender and transnational cousin marriage among British Pakistanis’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 30(6): 1117–1131.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • de Haas, H. & Fokkema, T. (2011) ‘The effects of integration and transnational ties on international return migration intentions’, Demographic Research, 24: 755–782.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dwyer, C. (2002) ‘“Where are you from?” Young British Muslims women and the making of “home”’, in Blunt, A. & McEwan, C. (eds) Postcolonial Geographies, pp. 184–199. London, Continuum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Døving, C. A. (2009) ‘Migration — Ritual attrition or increased flexibility? A case study of Pakistani funeral practices in Norway’, in Kalra, V. S. (ed) Pakistani diasporas: Culture, Conflict and Change. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Engbersen, G. & Snel, E. (2013) ‘Liquid migration: Dynamic and fluid patterns of post-accession migration flows’, in Glorius, B., Grabowska-Lusinska, I. & Kuvik, A. (eds) Mobility in Transition: Migration Patterns after EU Enlargement, pp. 21–40. Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Erdal, M. B. (2012) ‘‘A Place to Stay in Pakistan’: Why Migrants Build Houses in their Country of Origin’, Population Space and Place, 18(5): 629–641.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Erdal, M. B. (2013) ‘Migrant Transnationalism and Multi-Layered Integration: Norwegian-Pakistani Migrants’ Own Reflections’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 39(6): 983–999.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Erdal, M. B. & Oeppen, C. (2013) ‘Migrant Balancing acts: Ways of Understanding the Interactions Between Integration and Transnationalism’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 39(6): 867–884.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Friberg, J. H. (2012) ‘The stages of migration. From going abroad to settling down: Post-accession Polish migrant workers in Norway’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 38(10): 1589–1605.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Frye, M. (2012) ‘Bright Futures in Malawi’s New Dawn: Educational Aspirations as Assertions of Identity’, American Journal of Sociology, 117(6): 1565–1624.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Galasiñska, A. (2010) ‘Leavers and stayers discuss returning home: Internet discourses on migration in the context of the post-communist transformation’, Social Identities, 16(3): 309–324.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ho, E. E. L. (2009) ‘Constituting citizenship through the emotions: Singaporean transmigrants in London’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 99(4): 788–804.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kivisto, P. & La Vecchia-Mikkola, V. (2013) ‘Immigrant Ambivalence toward the Homeland: The Case of Iraqis in Helsinki and Rome’, Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, 11(2): 198–216.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Levitt, P. & Waters, M. C. (eds) (2002) The changing face of home: The transnational lives of the second generation New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

    Google Scholar 

  • Malkki, L. (1992) ‘National geographic: the rooting of peoples and the territorialisation of national identity among scholars and refugees’, Cultural anthropology, 7(1): 22–44.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mallett, S. (2004) ‘Understanding home: A critical review of the literature’, The Sociological Review, 52(1): 62–89.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Massey, D. (1997) ‘A global sense of place’, in Barnes, T. & Gregory, D. (eds) Reading Human Geography, pp. 315–323. London, Arnold.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mazzucato, V., Kabki, M. & Smith, L. (2006) ‘Transnational Migration and the Economy og Funerals: Changing Practices in Ghana’, Development and Change, 37(5): 1047–1072.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Oeppen, C. (2013) ‘A stranger at ‘home’: interactions between transnational return visits and integration for Afghan refugees.’, Global Networks, 13(2): 261–278.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Okólski, M. (2012) ‘Spatial Mobility from the Perspective of the Incomplete Migration Concept’, Central and Eastern European Migration Review, 1(1): 11–35.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rapport, N. a. D., A. (ed) (1998) Migrants of identity: perceptions of “home” in a world of movement, Oxford: Berg.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ryan, L. (2008) ‘Navigating the Emotional Terrain of Families “Here” and “There”: Women, Migration and the Management of Emotions’, Journal of Intercultural Studies, 29(3): 299–313.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rytter, M. (2010) ‘A Sunbeam of Hope: Negotiations of Identity and Belonging among Pakistanis in Denmark’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 36(4): 599–617.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schans, D. (2009) ‘Transnational family ties of immigrants in the Netherlands’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 32(7): 1164–1182.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Skrbiš, Z. (2008) ‘Transnational families: Theorising migration, emotions and belonging’, Journal of Intercultural Studies, 29(3): 231–246.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Snel, E., Engbersen, G. & Leerkes, A. (2006) ‘Transnational involvement and social integration’, Global Networks, 6(3): 285–308.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Song, C. (2009) ‘Brothers Only in Name. The Alienation and Identity Transformation of Korean Chinese Return Migrants in South Korea’, in Tsuda, T. (ed) Diasporic Homecomings. Ethnic Return Migration in Comparative Perspective, pp. 281–304. Stanford, CA, Stanford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Steyn, M. E. & Grant, T. (2007) ‘“A real bag of mixed emotions”: Re-entry experiences of South African exiles’, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 31(3): 363–389.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tolia-Kelly, D. (2004) ‘Locating processes of identification: studying the precipitates of re-memory through artefacts in the British Asian home’, Transactions of the British Institute of Geographers, 29(3): 314–329.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tsuda, T. (2004) ‘When Home Is Not the Homeland: The Case of Japanese Brazilian Ethnic Return Migration’, in Stefansson, A. H. & Markowitz, F. (eds) Homecomings. Unsettling Paths of Return, pp. 125–145. Lanham, MD, Lexington Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Van Leeuwen, B. (2008) ‘On the affective ambivalence of living with cultural diversity’, Ethnicities, 8(2): 147–176.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vertovec, S. & Cohen, R. (eds) (2002) Conceiving cosmopolitanism: theory context and practice New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Werbner, P. (1999) ‘Global Pathways: Working class cosmopolitans and the creation of transnational ethnic worlds’, Social Anthropology 7(1): 17–35.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • White, A. (2013) ‘Double return migration: failed returns to Poland leading to settlement abroad and new transnational strategies’, International Migration.

  • Wimmer, A. & Schiller, N. G. (2002) ‘Methodological nationalism and beyond: nation-state building, migration and the social sciences’, Global Networks 2(4): 301–334.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Marta Bivand Erdal.

Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits use, duplication, adaptation, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Erdal, M.B. ‘This is My Home’. CMS 2, 361–383 (2014). https://doi.org/10.5117/CMS2014.3.ERDA

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.5117/CMS2014.3.ERDA

Keywords

  • home
  • return
  • transnational
  • integration
  • Pakistan
  • Poland