“The Myth of Return: dismissal, revival or survival?”

Bolognani, Marta (2007) “The Myth of Return: dismissal, revival or survival?”. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 33 (1). pp. 59-76. ISSN 1369-183X

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Abstract

This article documents forms of ‘homeland’ attachment and analyses their significance among second- and third-generation British Pakistanis by comparison with the ‘myth of return’ that characterised the early pioneer phase of Pakistani migration to Britain. ‘Homeland attachment’ for young British Pakistanis is constituted through school holidays spent in Pakistan, participation there in life-cycle rituals involving the wider kinship network, and the older generation’s promotion of the idea of Pakistan as a spiritual and cultural homeland. The article suggests that, for the pioneer generation, the ‘myth of return’ justified a socio-economically motivated migration. Yet for the second and third generations, ‘homeland’ attachments and the idea of a possible return to Pakistan represent, instead, a response to contemporary political tensions and Islamophobia. Thus, while ‘myth of return’ remains, for the majority, a myth, it has been revitalised and has a new political significance in the contemporary political context. The paper will first of all acknowledge the intersections between the two continents and analyse how homeland attachment is transmitted to younger generations through the organisation of the life-cycle. In the second part, attention will switch to the economic ‘myth of return’ of the pioneer generation and its transformation into a political issue with reference to contemporary global events.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology > GN301 Ethnology. Social and cultural anthropology
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonisation. Emigration and immigration. International migration
Depositing User: Marta Bolognani
Date Deposited: 01 May 2012 10:02
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2012 08:22
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/38884
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