Return to Mexico: exploring the (re)integration experience

Guzman Elizalde, Lorena (2018) Return to Mexico: exploring the (re)integration experience. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

This is a study about the return of migrants to their countries of origin and their subsequent reintegration experiences. By using qualitative research tools, this thesis aims to respond to the research question: What factors shape returnees’ (re)integration experiences? While the thesis is not explicitly comparative in nature, in order to analyse the ways in which contexts of return shape returnees’ reintegration experiences, this research was conducted in two contrasting localities in Mexico: the rural municipality of Huaquechula in the state of Puebla, and Mexico City; both are non-traditional emigration areas with high levels of return.
Existing studies on Mexican migration are often focused on one of three approaches: emigration, immigration or transnationalism. Despite the fact that return migration has always been part of the Mexico-USA migration cycle, it has received relatively little scholarly attention. Similarly, very little regard is paid to the reintegration processes that Mexican migrants experience when relocating to their country of origin. This naturalistic view of return migration sees reintegration as unproblematic, since individuals relocate, or are relocated to, the place where it is alleged they ‘naturally belong’. The lack of research in these fields indicates that there is still little understanding of these multi-causal and multi-layered processes linked to return.
The thesis, argues that, in order to gain a better understanding of the reintegration experiences of returnees, it is important to adopt a ‘holistic’ approach, and proposes the use of the ‘(re)integration framework’ (developed for my analysis of this case study) as its key analytical tool. The findings demonstrate that reintegration experiences are strongly linked to numerous variables: migrants’ motivations to migrate and return, their age at the time of migration, their gendered life course aspects (such as the number of dependents and family roles), and, most importantly, their contexts of return. In turn, these aspects influence the wellbeing of returnees which in turn shape and influence their sense of belonging and future aspirations.
In exploring the interconnections between current wellbeing, sense of belonging and long-term life expectations, the thesis contributes to our understanding of why a significant number of Mexican returnees consider re-migrating, either internally or internationally, as one of the few ways to pursue their ideal of vivir mejor (living well). Moreover, the inability of many returnees to re-migrate generates new challenges which affect their opportunities to (re)integrate and to contribute to their communities of return. This inability to re-migrate leaves them in a protracted limbo state which is detrimental, not only to their individual wellbeing, but also to the wellbeing of their families and entire communities.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic theory. Demography > HB0848 Demography. Population. Vital events > HB1951 Population geography. Migration > HB1961-2157 By region or country > HB1991 Mexico
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2018 15:21
Last Modified: 12 Nov 2018 15:21
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/80216

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