Life Course Perspective on Return Migration: Coming Back from Spain to Cochabamba (Bolivia)

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 17:00
Location: Hörsaal I (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Sonia PARELLA RUBIO, Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Spain
Leonardo DE LA TORRE, Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Spain
Clara PIQUERAS, Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain
Return migration has received increasing attention in recent years, both from the political and academic discourse. Because of classical approaches and the traditional way of understanding the phenomenon, the return migration has been analyzed as the last phase of the migratory project, isolated from the rest of the biography of individuals. The complexity of the contemporary migrations along with the current economic crisis in Southern European countries with a strong impact on employment rates have challenged the traditional analytical frameworks on return migration.

In order to overcome these approaches, the current paper aims to analyse the return migration from a transnational approach, including as an analytical and transversal tool, the life course perspective (Elder, 1994, 1995, 2003). More specifically, the objective is to reconstruct migratory trajectories of returnees from Spain to Cochabamba (Bolivia) in order to understand the role played by the economic crisis in their overall migratory trajectory. The proposed analytical framework seeks to understand how the four principles (agency; time and space; life-span development, and the principle of linked lives) interact to each other to macro, meso and micro level and generates transitions and turning points in the life of individual biographies. Based on twenty in-depth interviews with returnees from Spain to Cochabamba (Bolivia), the paper shows how the return phase connects with previous and forthcoming phases in the biographies of people and to which extent the economic crisis in Spain draws different scenario for the returnees depending on the configuration of the four principles of life course perspective. Our data come from two research projects led by GEDIME/CER-Migracions, Authonomous University of Barcelona: “Return from transnationalism, 2011-2014" and “Return Migration and Re-emigration: New migratory dynamics of Moroccans and Bolivians and the challenges for the mobility management, 2014-2017”, both funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness of Spain.