Return Migration and Psychosocial Wellbeing: Discourses, Policy-Making and Outcomes for Migrants and their Families, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Return Migration and Psychosocial Wellbeing

Discourses, Policy-Making and Outcomes for Migrants and their Families, 1st Edition

Edited by Zana Vathi, Russell King


280 pages

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Hardback: 9781138677500
pub: 2017-03-15
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315619613
pub: 2017-03-27
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Return migration is a topic of growing interest among academics and policy makers. Nonetheless, issues of psychosocial wellbeing are rarely discussed in its context.

Return Migration and Psychosocial Wellbeing problematises the widely-held assumption that return to the country of origin, especially in the context of voluntary migrations, is a psychologically safe process. By exploding the forced-voluntary dichotomy, it analyses the continuum of experiences of return and the effect of time, the factors that affect the return process and associated mobilities, and their multiple links with returned migrants' wellbeing or psychosocial issues.

Drawing research encompassing four different continents – Europe, North America, Africa and Asia – to offer a blend of studies, this timely volume contrasts with previous research which is heavily informed by clinical approaches and concepts, as the contributions in this book come from various disciplinary approaches such as sociology, geography, psychology, politics and anthropology. Indeed, this title will appeal to academics, NGOs and policy-makers working on migration and psychosocial wellbeing; and undergraduate and postgraduate students who are interested in the fields of migration, social policy, ethnicity studies, health studies, human geography, sociology and anthropology.


Return migration is discussed a lot but remains poorly understood in both academic and policy contexts. Engaging with the multi-faceted realities of ‘return’, this books offers a much needed critical view to return migration. Focusing on the psychosocial well being of the returning migrant the book challenges the dominant myth that return is a ‘good thing’. Contributions to this volume cover four continents and very different contexts of return (voluntary and forced, assisted and spontaneous) pointing to the agency of the migrant and to the role of volition in both returning and in seeking to escape (forced) return.

Anna Triandafyllidou, Professor, Global Governance Programme, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute

Return Migration and Psychosocial Wellbeing sheds new light on classical themes in the study of migration, such as agency, home, and the life course. The book connects these themes with current theoretical turns and policy contexts. The focus on psychosocial wellbeing weaves together forms of migration that are usually studies in isolation from each other.

Jørgen Carling, Peace Research Institute Oslo

Readers who want to understand the policy and societal relevance of returnees’ wellbeing will find much in this volume co-edited by Russell King and Zana Vathi. The authors’ contributions accurately identify the various psychosocial dimensions inherent in returnees’ patterns of reintegration as well as their implications. To be sure, this volume clearly shows that it is still possible to reflect on return migration by critically examining and deconstructing predominant assumptions with grounded scientific evidence.

Jean-Pierre Cassarino, Institut de Recherche sur le Maghreb Contemporain (IRMC)

Table of Contents



The interface between return migration and psychosocial wellbeing

Zana Vathi, Edge Hill University, UK

  1. The forced-voluntary continuum in return migration
  2. Return to wellbeing? Irregular migrants and assisted return in Norway

    Synnøve Bendixsen, University of Bergen, Norway

    Hilde Lidén, Institute for Social Research, Norway

    Forced to return? Agency and the role of post-return mobility for psychosocial wellbeing among returnees to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Poland

    Marta Bivand Erdal, Peace Research Institute, Norway

    Ceri Oeppen, University of Sussex, UK

    Between ‘voluntary’ return programs and soft deportation: sending vulnerable migrants in Spain back ‘home’

    Barak Kalir, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  3. Ancestral returns, adaptation and re-migration
  4. Roots migration to the ancestral homeland and psychosocial wellbeing: young Polish diasporic students

    Marcin Gońda, University of Łódź, Poland

    ‘This country plays tricks on you’: Portuguese migrant descendant returnees narrate economic crisis-influenced ‘returns’

    João Sardinha, Universidade Aberta, Portugal

    David Cairns, University of Lisbon, Portugal

    ‘Invisible’ returns of Bosnian refugees and their psychosocial wellbeing

    Selma Porobic, University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina


  5. Asylum systems, assisted returns, and post-return mobilities
  6. ‘Burning without fire’: the paradox of the state’s attempt to safeguard deportees’ psychosocial wellbeing

    Daniela DeBono, Malmö University, Sweden

    The return of refugees from Kenya to Somalia: gender and psychosocial wellbeing

    Nassim Majidi, Science Po, France

    Time heals? A multi-sited, longitudinal case study on the lived experiences of returnees in Armenia

    Ine Lietaert, Eric Broekaert and Ilse Derluyn, Ghent University, Belgium

  7. Life-Course, family and health

The need to belong: Latvian youth returns as dialogic work

Aija Lulle, University of Sussex, UK

Migration and return migration in later life to Albania: the pendulum between subjective wellbeing and place

Eralba Cela, Polytechnic University of Marche, Italy

To stay or to go? The motivations and experiences of older British returnees from Spain

Kelly Hall, University of Birmingham, UK

Charles Betty, University of Northampton, UK

Jordi Giner, University of Valencia, Spain

‘Is this really where home is?’ Experiences of home in a revisited homeland among ageing Azorean returnees

Dora Sampaio, University of Sussex, UK


Exploring the multiple complexities of the return migration–psychosocial wellbeing nexus

Russell King, University of Sussex, UK

About the Editors

Zana Vathi is Reader in Social Sciences at Edge Hill University.

Russell King is Professor of Geography at the University of Sussex and Visiting Professor of Migration Studies at Malmö University.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Race and Ethnicity

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General