Return migration during economic crisis: Experiences of Albanian return migrants and their children in the quest to belong


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Following the social and political turmoil in many countries after the recent economic crisis, many Albanian migrants regarded a return to their ╦ťhomeland' as the best solution during a time of uncertainty. Adding to the literature on return migration, this research investigates a group of migrants, not previously studied extensively, whose return to their country of origin was triggered by the lingering economic crisis in Europe, particularly in Greece. The research explores the experiences of return migrants and their children in Albania by focusing on their (re)settlement issues, the ways they (re)construct a sense of belonging, and how their identity is impacted by these changes. Return migrants (aged 30-50 years) and their children (aged 7-18 years) participated in this research (n=51). Qualitative data were collected through in-depth interviews with respondents aged 13 years and above, augmented by focus groups and family case studies. This research was conducted in two waves and several participants were followed up to document changes. Findings show that the economic and socio-structural constraints in the origin country and uncertainties about the future experienced by adults create barriers to their overall ability to adjust and construct a sense of belonging in Albania. The research documents further that children of return migrants experience exclusion and nonbelonging, instigating feelings of being foreigners for a second time. While children showed improvement in their socio-spatial worlds overtime; in Wave 2 adults continued to grapple with employment instability and future uncertainties. Entangled in between these experiences and a simultaneous quest to belong, the research contributes to a better understanding of return migration in times of economic crisis.
Date of Award17 Nov 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Edge Hill University
SupervisorDerek Heim (Director of Studies) & RUXANDRA TRANDAFOIU (Supervisor)


  • economic crisis
  • children
  • adults
  • (re)settlement
  • belonging
  • identity
  • return migration

Cite this