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Theorising Return Migration: the Conceptual Approach to Return Migrants Revisited

Author(s): Jean-Pierre Cassarino

Journal: International Journal of Multicultural Societies
ISSN 1817-4574

Volume: 6;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 253;
Date: 2004;
Original page

Keywords: return migration | migration and development

The attention paid by international organisations to the link betweenmigration and development in migrants’ origin countries hashighlighted the need to revisit approaches to return migration.Moreover, the growing diversity of migratory categories (rangingfrom economic migrants to refugees and asylum seekers) necessitatesa distinction between the various types of returnee. We still need toknow who returns when, and why; and why some returnees appear asactors of change, in specific social and institutional circumstances at home, whereas others do not. The first objective of this paper is to analyse how return has been dealt with by international migrationtheories, emphasising particularly the assumptions on which they rest. This theoretical overview is necessary to show how return has been defined and located in time and space, and how the returnee has been depicted. The second objective is to take the various approaches to return migration a step further by elaborating on the theoretical insights that have been extensively proposed. The conceptual approach to returnees is then revisited, taking into account a set of distinguishing criteria, i.e. the returnee’s “preparedness” and “resource mobilisation”.

Tango Jona
Tangokurs Rapperswil-Jona

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