Tales of satisfaction and disillusionment: second-generation “return” migration to Greece and Cyprus

King, Russell, Christou, Anastasia, Goodson, Ivor and Teerling, Janine (2014) Tales of satisfaction and disillusionment: second-generation “return” migration to Greece and Cyprus. Diaspora, 17 (3). pp. 262-287. ISSN 1044-2057

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We examine the comparative “return” experiences of second-generation Greek-Americans and British-born Greek Cypriots who have relocated to their respective parental homelands of Greece and Cyprus. Sixty individuals, born in the United States or the United Kingdom yet now living in Greece or Cyprus, were interviewed and detailed life narratives recorded. We find both similarities and differences between the two groups. While the broad narrative themes “explaining” their returns are similar—a search for a “place to belong” in the ancestral homeland linked to what is, or was, perceived to be a more relaxed and genuine way of life—the post-return outcomes vary. In Greece there is disappointment, even profound disillusionment, whereas in Cyprus the return is generally viewed with satisfaction. For Greek-Americans, negative experiences include difficulty in accessing employment, frustration with bureaucracy and a culture of corruption, struggles with the chaos and stress of life in Athens, and pessimism about the future for their children in Greece. As a result, some Greek-Americans contemplate a second return, back to the United States. For the returnee British Cypriots, these problems are far less evident; they generally rationalize their relocation to Cyprus as the “right decision,” both for themselves and for their children. Greek-Americans tend to withdraw into a social circle of their own kind, whereas British-born returnee Cypriots adopt a more cosmopolitan or “third-space” cultural identity related, arguably, to the small scale and intimate spaces of social [End Page 262] Second-Generation “Return” Migration to Greece and Cyprus exchange in an island setting, and to the colonial and postcolonial history of Cyprus and its diaspora.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Part of Special Issue: Diasporic Return. Edited by Russell King and Erik Olsson.
Keywords: return migration, second generation, Greek-Americans, Cyprus, narratives of belonging
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Subjects: J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonisation. Emigration and immigration. International migration > JV6001 Emigration and immigration. International migration
Depositing User: Jayne Paulin
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2015 10:56
Last Modified: 19 May 2015 12:45
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/52263
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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Cultural geographies of counter-diasporic migration: the second generation returns 'home'.R5D2AHRC-ARTS & HUMANITIES RESEARCH COUNCILAH/E50860X/1