Analyzing “Return Migration” and Suffering Among Italian Returnees in the Alpine Area from 1970's Crisis until Today

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 09:00
Location: Hörsaal 07 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Melissa BLANCHARD, Idemec, France
Francesca SIRNA, CNRS, France
Return migration, rather than being a marginal phenomenon, concerned the majority of Italian migrants. More than half of the 27 million Italians who emigrated since the unification of the peninsula (1871), returned to Italy. Migrants’ departures and returns in the Italian Alps alternated over the past 150 years, overlapping with the well-established comings and goings typical of the old temporary and short-distance migration.

Based on long-term qualitative researches in Italian alpine areas, our paper will not exclusively deal with the return of retirees (first-migrants), but with different generations returning from France, Chile and Argentina.

In a first time we shall question what we mean by return migration.  We shall decompose the category of return in an attempt to clarify it: who are the returnees, i.e. those who migrated, their children, their grand-children?

In a second time we shall analyze deeper the experience of suffering in return migration. When does return induce suffering, why and for whom? Return migration does not generate the same kind of suffering depending on the place the individual occupies in the social scene in the countries of settlement and origin, on the generation he/she belongs to, as well as on the success of his/her social and economic path.

In a third time we shall analyze how the historical and economic context in which mobility takes place may influence the conditions of return migration and the suffering possibly linked to it.