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Observing the Multiple Intersections of Mobilities through "Return Migration" in the Alps

Abstract : Through a comparative study of "return migration" from Latin America towards two Alpine regions in Italy and in France, this article questions the scientific distinction between forms of spatially-bound mobilities. By analyzing different generations' mobilities within the same family network over time, it sheds light on the tropisms underlying the taken-for-granted distinction between migration and mobility. It proposes to use "migration" only to refer to movement across State frontiers, and it critically examines the notion of return. "Return" is a common feature of Alpine mobility. As it was part of the internal circular skilled-work mobility that developed in the early modern era, it constituted an essential component of transatlantic migration that later occurred. The comparison of "return" in the two regions shows that different paths of mobility are influenced not only by economic opportunities and migration policies, but also by inheritance norms. The article thus calls for a "systemic" study of mobility, encompassing history, economics, policy, law and kinship. Insight from long-lasting, taken-for-granted-yet-unknown European migrations, which are still going on in the contemporary era, not only helps understand some of the socioeconomic changes European societies are facing, but may also bring light to some issues that are at stake in more recent and more visible migrations.
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Contributor : Melissa Blanchard <>
Submitted on : Thursday, January 21, 2021 - 10:33:36 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - 3:19:44 PM


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  • HAL Id : hal-02989804, version 1


Melissa Blanchard. Observing the Multiple Intersections of Mobilities through "Return Migration" in the Alps. New Diversities, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, 2017, 19 (13), pp.75-87. ⟨hal-02989804⟩



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