This study examines the experiences of children of return migrants to Albania following the economic crisis in Europe. Adopting a longitudinal approach in which participants were followed-up after a year and employing participative qualitative research methods, the study investigates how perceptions of local and translocal spaces and social relations interact to shape children’s (aged 7-12 years) sense of belonging to their parents’ homeland. Findings suggest that the children’s initial positioning is influenced by a perceived lack of everyday places of play and unsettled local interactions with peers. The research indicates further that, over time, children actively seek to inhabit and identify with their new surroundings and that meaning-making is shaped by experiences that transcend multiple localities. It documents how children of return migrants attain a sense of belonging via interacting with different physical and social contexts in a complex process which appears simultaneously facilitated and impeded by adults. Overall the findings of this research suggest that children’s sense of belonging is negotiated in relation to multiple temporal and spatial frames of reference to which children attribute meaning.
- return migration