Dreaming of 'home' and 'belonging' in transnational families: generational views on 'return'
Elisabetta Zontini (Nottingham University)
Paper short abstract:
This paper deals with issues of ‘home’ and ‘belonging’ in transnational families, focusing issues of ‘return’. The paper explores how ‘return’ is conceived and experienced by different generations of migrants. The role of memories, hopes and dreams in imagining or enacting ‘return’ will be explored across gender and generation.
Paper long abstract:
This paper draws on material collected as part of a research which explored various aspects of family life in contemporary transnational families for the Ethnicity Strand of the Families and Social Capital ESRC Research Group. In particular, this paper deals with issues of 'home' and 'belonging' in transnational families, locating the experiences of different generations of people of Italian origin in comparative perspective with those originating from the Caribbean. The paper explores how the issue of 'return', or migration to the 'homeland', is conceived and experienced by different generations of migrants focusing, for instance, on how the memories and nostalgia of the parents are re-interpreted by their children; how experiences of inclusion/exclusion in the country of settlement shape attempts at connecting with the homeland; and on the contradictory nature of 'return' - sometimes causing new longings (e.g. for the country of settlement) and feelings of exclusion. Drawing on ethnographic examples, the paper will explore: what forms does 'return' take for contemporary transmigrants; how 'return' is imagined and enacted; how experiences of return may vary; how 'return' is linked to issues of belonging; and how are ideas and experiences of return shaped by gender and generation.
Being human, being migrant: dealing with memory, dreams and hopes in everyday life