Home    Number 3, 2017

The (Non-)Return: Can Migrants Become Former Migrants?

[(Ne)Vozvrashchenie: mogut li migranty stat’ byvshimi?]

Type of publication: Research Article

Submitted: 05.12.2016

Accepted: 12.01.2017

About author(s)

Olga Brednikova | http://orcid.org/0000-0002-6954-1273 | bred8@yandex.ru | Centre for Independent Social Research (87 Ligovsky prospekt, St. Petersburg, 191040, Russia)


Central Asia, migrants, return migration, phenomenon of return, biographical perspective, transnational perspective, identificational perspective


The return of migrants home is problematic because it manifests the important gaps at the social, identificational, and everyday levels. The social gaps are caused by the forced restructuring of social networks. Breaks at the identificational level are associated with the acquisition of the migrant’s unique experience of being “out”, with the transnational multiplication of social reality, as well as with the production of distance from the host community. Breaks at the level of everyday life are embodied in the assimilation of new social practices and corporeal idioms. The study of the phenomenon of return through the transnational, biographical, and identificational lenses seems informative and non-obvious. The analysis of migrants’ emotions, perceptions of the past and the future (in particular, the phenomenon of nostalgia and myth of the return), as well as everyday practices and their physical incarnations provides rich material for the interpretation of the phenomenon.

Funding Information

This research was supported by the following institutions and grants:
Russian Science Foundation, https://doi.org/10.13039/501100006769 [grant no. 14-18-02149]


Brednikova, O.E. 2017. (Ne)Vozvrashchenie: mogut li migranty stat’ byvshimi? [The (Non-)Return: Can Migrants Become Former Migrants?]. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 3: 32-47

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