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Social Anthropology: News


Call for Papers

Return and Onward Migration Workshop

School of Social and Political Studies, University of Edinburgh

9th-11th April 2008

Confirmed Speakers

Professor Alastair Ager, Dr Tim Allen, Professor Richard Black, Dr Dawn Chatty, Dr Stef Jansen, Dr Tania Kaiser, Professor Roger Zetter

Aims and Objectives

Migration studies has acquired a central position across the social sciences, with research focusing on forced displacement and voluntary migration, internal displacement, child migration, global labour flows and skilled migration. This workshop will interrogate return migration (back to source societies) and onward migration (to a third destination).

Return migration is often seen as an ideal in policy discussion regarding refugees, asylum seekers and migrants alike – the return of refugees after the end of conflict, the reversal of the ‘brain-drain’ through the return of skilled professionals to developing countries, or the expulsion of unsuccessful asylum seekers and irregular migrants. Return migration that meets the basic criteria of not resulting in re-emigration may be considered ‘sustainable’ and therefore desirable from the perspective of host and home governments alike. From the perspective of returnees, however, return migration may itself imply ‘failure’. Moreover, resettlement and reintegration into the home society may be rife with difficulties especially when such societies have been transformed in the interim through war, political upheaval or economic crisis.

More than ten years on after the UNHCR’s decade of repatriation we have not witnessed a mass return of refugees. In fact, according to the UNHCR, there remain more than 38 protracted refugee situations affecting over 6.2 million people. Many will continue live permanently in their country of asylum, but others may resettle or be resettled in a third country. Such onward migration to a third destination (about which there is no comprehensive body of literature) similarly throws up multiple opportunities and obstacles in terms of legal documentation, access to resources, socio-economic wellbeing, socio-political integration, and the maintenance and dissolution of family life.

Call for Papers

We welcome abstracts of up to 250 words for papers from all relevant social science disciplines and with any geographical focus on the following suggested themes: In/voluntary repatriation; Return of repatriates; Resettlement policies; Un/official dispersal; Beyond ‘the myth of return’; Migrant identities. Please send abstracts (including your name, email address, and institutional affiliation) by Friday 1st February 2008 to: and 

Leverhulme Early Career Fellows

School of Social and Political Studies

University of Edinburgh

British Academy funding

British Academy funding will provide for workshop materials and meals during the workshop. Unfortunately, however, we will not be able to provide financial assistance with travel or accommodation costs.

Edinburgh Students