Afghan Return Migrants’ Identification with the Conflict and Their Potential to be Agents of Change in the (Post-) Conflict Society of Return

Marieke van Houte,

In the past decade return migrants from Western countries have been included in the migration and development debate as they are expected to combine Western mentality, knowledge and experience gained abroad with a knowledge of, networks in, and identification with the country of origin, acting as mediators between cultures and practices, using the best of both worlds. This assumes that migrants identify with multiple societies and that this has an added value. In such positions, return migrants are seen as actors of change who can contribute to reconstruction and peace-building in a (post-)conflict society. However, the migration experience and return can have very diverse outcomes in terms of multiple embeddedness, mobility, and possibilities to negotiate the different spaces of belonging. The outcomes of return migration are therefore equally diverse for both the individual returnee and the receiving society. This paper explores how returnees’ multiple embeddedness and current mobility affects their identification with the conflict and their potential to be agents of change. I will discuss four fields in which returnees relate to the conflict after return: personal security, the structural reality of the conflict, the mentality and culture of conflict and violence, and perspectives for the future.

Venue: Conference Room

Date: 19 June 2013

Time: 12:30 - 13:30  CEST