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‘This is My Home’

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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.


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Correspondence to Marta Bivand Erdal.

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