Accepted Paper:

Between longing and belonging: tensions between imagined and lived experiences of “home” in the return migration experiences of Peruvians  


Cristina Alcalde (University of Kentucky)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the imaginaries and lived experiences of belonging among Peruvian return migrants, paying special attention to how gender, sexual identity, and class shape migrants’ experiences, and engages with cosmopolitanism as a theoretical lens for understanding these experiences.

Paper long abstract:

Approximately ten percent of Peruvians, close to three million, live abroad. The Peruvian economy has been steadily growing over the last decade, and approximately 250,000 Peruvians returned between 2001 and 2011 (IOM 2012). Far from presenting a straightforward homecoming, the narratives of return migrants underscore that home and homeland tend to be significantly different spaces and experiences (Tsuda 2003). This paper critically examines the return migration experiences of Peruvians through the intersecting lenses of gender, sexual identity, and insecurity. It emphasizes emerging narratives of cosmopolitanism (Glick-Schiller 2004, 2006, 2014) and ambivalent belonging that point to pervasive feelings of insecurity in return migrants’ everyday personal, family, and public lives in Lima. Individuals who identified as LGBT in particular discussed everyday forms of insecurity and decreased feelings of autonomy associated with return migration, as they renegotiated neoliberal forms of personhood in the context of extended families and as a response to the homophobia they encountered within their extended families and in public venues. These tensions and contradictions within narratives provide opportunities to theorize ambivalent forms of belonging and emerging gendered insecurities within the context of return migration.

Panel Mig008
Re-imagining home: belonging and liminality in migrants' everyday practices