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RE-TURN: Migration, home and development in a transnational perspective

Who we are

The working group “RE-TURN: Migration, home and development in a transnational perspective” consists of academics and researchers from various parts of the world who are working in the interface of return migration; diaspora; migration and development; the second generation and ethnicity as well as home and belonging.


What we are up to

Transnational studies have revealed the manifold linkages of migrants to their country of origin (and other countries). However, research on return movements of migrants by highlighting transnational patterns is just at its beginning.

Whereas, since decades return theories have predominantly focused on the process of return from a political development point of view. In this context the focus is on the potential of return migrants, highlighting their financial transfers and the value of their brains. The precondition for that is a “successful” return, which means to stay and remain in the country of origin. In this view remigrants are pictured as immobile development boosters. However, the current political debate has so far not tried to describe the return processes from the angle of the migrants themselves and to capture their personal needs, and not those of the nation states. Remigrants are following personal development goals in their current life stages. Mobility, e.g. a re-emigration, and other translational patterns are possible.

Until now the different strands of research on transnational return remain selective and internationally scattered with separate strands that are hardly connected to each other.

The working group “RE-TURN: Migration, home and development in a transnational perspective” provides an exploratory space for researchers interested in the manifold ways of meanings and practices of returns by focusing them under a transnational research approach. It aims at bringing together international academics to further an interdisciplinary and international dialogue in this field and connect existing approaches and findings from research by focusing on questions such as:


  • Who travels when, how often, why and in which constellations?
  • Who meets in the “contact zone” during these trips?
  • What are the social and economic implications of re-visits? What impact does, for example, roots tourisms have in this regard?
  • What challenges do actors face when they travel back home? How do they cope with them?
  • What impact do different types of migration have on the character of visits?
  • What are the main activities during visits?





If you want to exchange with the working group, please get in touch: