2007 | 33 | 2(124) | 75-92
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In an introduction to a book which was the result of the international conference on return migrations (Rome, November 10-14, 1981) Daniel Kubat maintained that the interest in return migration is growing fast among scholars. It seems he has definitely overestimated the tendency. At the same time he was right writing, that return migrations 'are for a long time rather neglected part of migratory studies'. More than twenty years passed and these words remained true inspite of rapid growth in the area of migration studies. The category of return migrations include very diverse range of phenomena: 'return' to Greece by Pondi Greeks after Lozanna treaty (1923), and after collapse of Soviet Union (1991); Greek political refugees returning from socialist countries after 1974; Poles returning to Poland after 1945 and then 1957 from the former territory of Poland which became part of Soviet Union in the result of the WWII; Poles coming back from Kazakhstan in 1990; returns of economic migrants from France to Poland in 1946 or from USA and Canada, Australia and various European countries after 1989. 'Return migrations' are thus a highly differentiated category.In order to understand process of return migration researcher needs to take into account social, economic and psychological context of the emigration, which precedes return migration. We need to identify circumstances of leaving home. This is absolutely necessary step of explanation of specific return migration process. The concept of return is crucial here. 1) Personal aspect: The return may refer to one person who emigrates and then comes back home. Also her/his children, grandchildren or further descendants. 2) It should be researched whether the place of return is exactly the same place (village, city, local or regional community), where from the previous emigration occurred. It can also be less precisely defined region, the country of origin, territory of national state. The last case may be also differentiated: the place of return may be located on the territory of national state but may be at the same time located far from the territory of initial emigration (e.g. in the result of the change of political frontiers). 3) The temporal aspect: the time between initial emigration and return migration may last years, centuries. In consequence we may distinguish following types of return migrations; this categorization certainly does not comprise all possible types. (1) - The return may be literal: a specific person comes back from emigration country exactly to the place he/she left. (2) - A specific person returns to the region, state, larger territory (nation-state) which was located on the territory of her/his emigration. (3) - A specific person comes back to the territory of national state created during her life in diasporas. (4) - Even the continent on a whole may become homeland - a mythical homeland - to move into the state is treated as the return. It was the case of African-American back to Africa movements.
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  • E. Nowicka, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Instytut Socjologii, ul. Karowa 18, 00-324 Warszawa, Poland
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