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Returning strangers: the children of Malawian refugees come 'home'?

Cornish, Flora and Peltzer, Karl and MaClachlan, Malcolm (1999) Returning strangers: the children of Malawian refugees come 'home'? Journal of Refugee Studies, 12 (3). pp. 264-283. ISSN 0951-6328

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Abstract

There has been relatively little research addressing the important issue of how refugees adapt to returning home. The research which has been done, however, suggests that the process of reintegration can be problematic and, at times, seriously distressing to returnees, especially if they are young. The present study investigated young refugees who had ‘returned’ to Malawi (the country of their parents' birth), although none of them had previously been to Malawi. Using semi-structured interviews with thematic content analysis, we report returnees' attitudes towards resources, activities, employment and social contacts in Malawi; how the returnees viewed their national identity, their opinions of Malawi and Zambia (where they sought refuge) and of Malawians and Zambians; and their feeling about the future. A variety of experiences were reported, including being disappointed by Malawi, yet cherishing its significance as a ‘homeland’; confusion about national and cultural identity; feelings of isolation in Malawi; and the desire to return to Zambia. The results indicate that adjustment to a refugee's homeland may be very difficult, especially for young refugees who may only have idealized impressions, but no experience, of ’home‘.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://jrs.oxfordjournals.org/
Additional Information: © 1999 Oxford University Press
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Departments > Methodology
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2012 08:58
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2012 08:58
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/47791

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