Economic Crisis and Migrant Suffering: A Multilevel Analysis of Return Intentions of Bolivian Migrants in Spain

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 09:12
Location: Hörsaal 07 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Alisa PETROFF, Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Spain
Leonardo DE LA TORRE, Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Spain
Clara PIQUERAS, Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain
Thales SPERONI PEREIRA DA CRUZ, Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain
The economic crisis, which has been developing in Spain since 2008, has played a major role in explaining the dynamics of the return migration in recent years. A lot of migrants in Spain lost their jobs and they felt the pain of the recession, with the addition of the separation from close family members in many cases. However, although structural factors in origin and destination are crucial to understand the decision of return, this process is strongly dependent on the migratory project and the migrants’ resources (micro and meso factors). By considering this postulate, this paper highlights the need for a multilevel analysis of return migration, which could explain the relationship between economic crisis, migrant suffering and strategies of return. The multi-level approach allows us to consider the migrants’ subjective experiences in the face of the economic crisis, as well as their capacity of agency, expressed in the ability to prepare the return to the home country. In doing so, this framework permits: 1) to overcome the success/failure dichotomy around the process of return; 2) to identify different profiles of Bolivian migrants with short-term return migration intention in regard to their strategies to cope with situations that cause suffering (as dealing with economic crisis), depending on the initial project of migration and the accumulated resources before and after migration.

This paper presents an analysis of twenty in-depth interviews with Bolivian migrants living in Spain, having expressed their intention to return in the short term. Our data come from two research projects led by GEDIME/CER-Migracions, Authonomous University of Barcelona (UAB): “Return from transnationalism (RETTRANS) 2011-2014" and “Return Migration and Re-emigration: New migratory dynamics of Moroccans and Bolivians and the challenges for the mobility management (REMIMOB), 2014-2017”, both funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness of Spain.