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Transnational Return and Social Change

Transnational Return and Social Change

Hierarchies, Identities and Ideas

Edited by Remus Gabriel Anghel, Margit Fauser, Paolo Boccagni

Return has long been considered the end of a migration cycle. Today, returnees’ continued transnational ties, practices and resources have become increasingly visible. ‘Transnational Return and Social Change’ pays tribute to the meso-level impacts that follow the practices and resources migrant returnees mobilize across borders, influencing communities, organizations, social networks and groups.

PDF, 206 Pages


July 2019

£25.00, $40.00

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EPUB, 206 Pages


July 2019

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About This Book

In the past years, in a general context featured by anti-migration discourses in immigration countries, sustained economic growth in countries of origin and mobility between migrants’ countries of origin and destination, research on return migration started flourishing.

Return has long been considered the end of a migration cycle. Today, returnees’ continued transnational ties, practices and resources have become increasingly visible. ‘Transnational Return and Social Change’ joins what is now a growing field of research and suggests new ways to understand the dynamics of return migration and the social changes that come along. It pays tribute to the meso-level impacts that follow the practices and resources migrant returnees mobilize across borders. It argues for the need to study the dynamics and impact of return migration by involving also more mundane forms of change, arguing that everyday processes and small-scale changes are as important as the macro-transformations for understanding the societal impact of migration.

This volume thus inquires about the consequences of return for local communities, organizations, social networks and groups, focussing on the changes in social hierarchies, collective identities and cultural capital, norms and knowledge. It presents case studies of migration flows that connect Germany to Turkey, Romania and Ghana, the United Kingdom to Poland, multiple Western countries to Latvia as well as inner-African movements. Against this background, the book contributes new insights into the transnational dynamics of return migration and their societal impact in pluralized societies.


‘In advancing research on the transnational implications of return migration, Anghel, Fauser and Boccagni have assembled an excellent collection of richly detailed empirical studies framed by their insightful introductory and concluding chapters. The result constitutes a major contribution to a critical, grounded, relational approach to the quotidian changes brought about by return, including the potential for generating new transnational engagements. This is essential reading for migration scholars.’
—Peter Kivisto, Richard A. Swanson Chair of Social Thought, Augustana College, USA

‘For many migrants, mobility is temporary. They return to the places they have left. Sometimes they return for a while, sometimes forever. Their return has an impact at least as important as their previous exit. Returning migrants have often been stigmatized as “failed” immigrants. Others have exalted them as standard-bearers of development and modernity. Both accounts fail to grasp the complex role played by returnees in migration systems. In this path-breaking book, the authors provide a new – and much-needed – way to understand a long neglected phenomenon. Definitely a book worth reading.’
—Giuseppe Sciortino, Professor, Department of Sociology and Social Research, University of Trento, Italy

‘This well-written book makes an outstanding contribution to scholarship about return migration and transnational practices and will certainly turn into an invaluable reference for anyone interested in understanding the complex link between migration and societal changes and transformations.’
—Claudia Finotelli, Senior Lecturer, Department of Applied Sociology, Faculty of Political Science and Sociology, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain

‘The volume grasps that migrants leave, enter, re-enter and return to societies in flux which also undergo constant meso and micro social changes.’
—Izabela Grabowska, Professor, SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Poland

Author Information

Remus Gabriel Anghel is senior researcher at the Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities and member of the Doctoral School in Political and Communication Sciences at the Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj Napoca, Romania.

Margit Fauser is senior research and principal investigator at the Faculty of Sociology, University of Bielefeld, Germany. Her main research fi elds are transnational migration, localities and cities, citizenship, borders and social inequalities.

Paolo Boccagni is associate professor at the Department of Sociology and Social Research, University of Trento, Italy. He is also the principal investigator of the ERC StG project HOMInG – the home-migration nexus (2016–2021).


Key Issues in Modern Sociology

Table of Contents

Introduction: A Meso-Level Approach to Linking Transnational Return and Social Change, Margit Fauser and Remus G. Anghel; When the Poor Migrate and Return: Class and Status Repositioning among Roma Transnational Returnees, Remus G. Anghel; Minority Institutions, German Transnational Return Migration and Social Change in Transylvania, Ovidiu Oltean; Returns of Failure: Involuntary Return Migration and Social Change in Ghana, Leander Kandilige and Geraldine A. Adiku; Religion, Return Migration and Change in an Emigration Country, Anatolie Coșciug; Diverse Return Mobilities and Evolving Identities among Returnees in Latvia, Aija Lulle, Zaiga Krisjane and Andris Bauls; ‘Be the Change’: Action Strategies and Implicit Knowledge in Transnational Return Migration, Claudia Olivier-Mensah; Polish Returnees’ Livelihood Strategies, Social Remittances and Influence on Communities of Origin, Anne White; Translocal ‘Return’, Social Change and the Value of Transcultural Capital: Second-Generation Turkish Germans in Antalya, Nilay Kilinç and Russell King; Afterword 3x3: Key Contributions, Emerging Questions and Ways Ahead After ‘Transnational Return and Social Change’, Paolo Boccagni; Index.

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