W213, Williams Building, Middlesex University, London NW4 4BT
The phenomenon of 'return' migration has not only become an important feature of the sociology of migration but is also an emerging issue of economic and political importance.
A significant number of British citizens with Kurdish ethnic background, in particular young people born and/or educated in the UK, have left to Kurdistan–Iraq to work in the public and private sectors including education, health, oil and communication sectors. However, little is known about the motivations and the decision-making of the British-Kurdish young 'returnees'.
Dr Janroj Yilmaz Keles' paper is based on the British Institute for the Iraqi Studies funded research on return migration and social networks. Drawing on 20 in-depth interviews with diverse age, gender, income, political affiliation, occupation, and religious background and on the analysing of Kurdish websites and digital social networks from September 2015 to January 2016, this paper provides insights into the motivations British-Kurdish young people to move to Kurdistan.
It discusses the strategies used to build (digital) social networks and the process of settlement, adaptation and socio-economic participation in their 'new' home. The 'returnees' play a crucial role in post-conflict reconstruction; however, as we know from the literature, every return migration entails cultural, political and economic disappointments and conflict in the imagined and mediated homeland.
Therefore this paper will also discuss the challenges that they face in their everyday life in Kurdistan and analyse the social and political structural problems and cultural values causing disappointment among some returnees, which lead to a sense of alienation and circular migration back to the UK or elsewhere.
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