Accepted Paper:

Generation of difference: strategies of migration amongst the descendants of forcibly displaced Chagos islanders  
Laura Jeffery (University of Edinburgh)

Paper short abstract:

Focusing on intergenerational tensions between forcibly displaced Chagos islanders in the Indian Ocean and their descendants who have migrated to the UK, I explore how shared experiences, emergent ties and reformulations of home/homeland influence migrants’ strategies of integration/non-integration.

Paper long abstract:

In this paper I explore intergenerational tensions between forcibly displaced Chagos islanders in the Indian Ocean and their descendants who have migrated to the UK. Between 1965 and 1973 the UK Government depopulated the Chagos Archipelago, forcibly displacing the islanders to Mauritius and Seychelles. In 2002, Chagos islanders and their first-generation offspring were awarded UK citizenship. Several hundred Chagossians, mostly from the younger generations born in Mauritius and Seychelles, have migrated to the UK seeking employment and educational opportunities. Many older islanders, who perceive that UK citizenship disproportionately benefits the younger generations, feel that their greater suffering (as a result of their first-hand experience of the displacement and their ongoing dislocation from their homeland) has been neglected and is not adequately redressed with the granting of British passports. Moreover, older islanders routinely chastise the younger generations for their alleged lack of solidarity and lack of commitment to the 'Chagossian community'. Shared experiences of migration and resettlement in the UK, however, have resulted in new ties between these younger migrants in the form of mutual assistance (financial loans and help for newcomers with finding accommodation and employment), friendship and romance. In this paper I explore how intergenerational tensions, existing connections to the 'homeland', the construction of a new 'home' in the UK, and emergent ties amongst recent migrants from the Indian Ocean together influence migrants' strategies of integration and non-integration and their changing relationships to their places of birth, upbringing and residence.

Panel IW04
Diaspora and migration