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Open Access Not Just a Personal Decision

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Not Just a Personal Decision

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Moral Obligations and Collective Pressures on Return to Zimbabwe

image of African Diaspora

This article explores the interplay between individual decisions and wider collective pressures over return migration among Zimbabweans in the UK. What was perceived as a transitional moment in Zimbabwe opened up the possibility of return after exile, and has been characterized not only by hope but also uncertainty, fear and ambivalence about return. As such, it is a particularly interesting time to study return considerations, which are not simply personal, but are influenced by moral obligations and collective pressures, both within the diaspora and transnationally. The article analyses the intersection between the personal and communal domains in matters of return in relation to three aspects of the anticipated transition; economic change and uncertainty in Zimbabwe, the politics of asylum, and identity politics. I argue that emotions and decisions about settlement and return are complicated by collective influences on personal considerations and that questions of return are partly questions of identity.

Affiliations: 1: Norwegian Organisation for Asylum Seekers, Oslo, Norway ebm@noas.org

This article explores the interplay between individual decisions and wider collective pressures over return migration among Zimbabweans in the UK. What was perceived as a transitional moment in Zimbabwe opened up the possibility of return after exile, and has been characterized not only by hope but also uncertainty, fear and ambivalence about return. As such, it is a particularly interesting time to study return considerations, which are not simply personal, but are influenced by moral obligations and collective pressures, both within the diaspora and transnationally. The article analyses the intersection between the personal and communal domains in matters of return in relation to three aspects of the anticipated transition; economic change and uncertainty in Zimbabwe, the politics of asylum, and identity politics. I argue that emotions and decisions about settlement and return are complicated by collective influences on personal considerations and that questions of return are partly questions of identity.

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/content/journals/10.1163/18725465-00701002
2014-01-01
2017-12-11

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