Meanings of and Motivations for Return

Deconstructing the Complexity of Voluntary and Involuntary Return
Part of the Migration, Diasporas and Citizenship book series (MDC)


This chapter proposes an analytical framework for investigating the complex meanings of and motivations for migration and return. Both policy and research have so far insufficiently addressed the complexity of voluntary and involuntary return. The proposed framework recognizes migration and return as processes that take place under different structural circumstances, with different capacities and desires, creating different levels of agency. The complex and sometimes seemingly contradictory narratives of Afghan returnees are discussed to deconstruct the policy-oriented dichotomy between voluntary and involuntary return. In conclusion, while pleading that the complexities of return be taken into account, the author proposes to centralize post-return mobility as an indicator for voluntary or involuntary return.


Host Country Legal Status Structural Reality Asylum Seeker Undocumented Migrant 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Migration Institute Department of International DevelopmentUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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