Sharp identities, leaving traces drawing back home: An exploratory qualitative study on the individual choice of return migration
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The purpose of this thesis is to explore the reasons why some people chose to defy the main migration trend of urbanization. The people interviewed represent a desired political goal; a wide spread population in Norway. Yet there are few political tools to help pull in that direction. This is an exploratory study, which contributes a different perspective to parallel branches of research on the phenomenon of return migration. Three narrative interviews were conducted, with the intention of getting new insights on the soft, nonmaterial and relational qualities lying underneath the choice of return migration. Six interconnected categories were found; together they form a ‘synthesis through systemic dialectic formation of self’. These categories indicate that the development, maintenance and reinforcement of a strong place-identity, voluntarily or involuntarily, despite moving away from home, significantly enhances the possibility for return migration. It appears that to increase the potential for return migration, the place of upbringing must be able to adapt and maintain the qualities underlying latent preference of individuals for coming ‘home’. This can be argued from the data; showing that the people were operating in a span between Kegan’s socialized-self and the self-authoring mind. During the same time of choice, it was implied that they were maintaining a good position in the relational stage of Erikson’s Life-Stage Model. First, when the choice of return migration is imminent and they reflect upon their values and the ‘inner voices’, they are able to meet and experience themselves as more whole. These findings, combined with choice theory, can give political decision-makers indications of directions for further research and tools to make progress on the desired societal goal of a widespread population in Norway.