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Connection without Engagement: The Paradoxes of North American Armenian Return Migration


Return migration from the diaspora to the ancestral homeland has emerged as an important sub-field within migration studies. The scholarship has introduced new ways of understanding migratory trajectories by exploring the roles of migrants’ ethnicity and imagination and has identified novel ways of unpacking migratory patterns whose motivations are not centered on economic mobility. But the scholarship has begged the question by documenting the ethnic and sentimental motivations that make migration incomprehensible and the unexpected difficulties returnees encounter once they have settled in their perceived homelands. The current research project investigates the experiences of North American Armenians who have “returned” to Armenia. It seeks to extend the existing theoretical framework by demonstrating how ancestral returnees sustain a powerful feeling of connection to a country while simultaneously harboring a sense of disengagement from local practices.

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