• Andreas Hennings Jespersen
4. term, Global Refugee Studies, Master (Master Programme)
Returning to one’s country of origin can be a devastating experience. In a Liberian context, those who return are after a failed migratory attempt often experience much hardship when they come back to their country of origin. But how do we make sense of this hardship?

This thesis investigates the lived experience, and informs the concept, of returning after a failed migratory attempt, based on the narratives of recently returned returnees in Liberia. Applying a grounded theory methodology and a narrative analysis, it becomes possible to unravel the returnees’ experiences, which in turns informs the understanding of the concept of returning after a failed migratory attempt. What can be seen in that the returnees return to Liberia with memories of severe abuse, but even though they experience abuse during their migration, they are afraid of returning because they are afraid of shame and stigmatisation in Liberia. They are afraid because they have not yet been successful in their migratory endeavour. The returnees understanding of success is important to investigate, as it informs the understanding of failure. Their narration of success shows that success is determined upon return to Liberia, and that success is something which is experienced not by the individual returnee, but something that is determined through the social relationships of the returnee, and their perception of the returnee’s migratory endeavours. Success is perceived as the ability to improve one’s living conditions and mobility in Liberia. The understanding of success is altered upon return, as the returnees perceives success as something unobtainable after they have failed in their migratory endeavours. However, the notion of success is still needed in order to imagine a future where you are unstuck from your current situation. It can also be seen that when the returnees returned to Liberia, they felt severe shame because they were unable to live up to the expectations of their migration, and they experience stigmatisation from their family, kin and surrounding society, because of their inability to succeed in their migration, and because they did not have anything to show for themselves upon return.

These above empirical findings allow for four analytical aspects which assist in informing the concept of returning after a failed migratory attempt: shame and stigmatisation upon return, the relational aspect of failure, how return pervades everything, and how it is possible to understand failure through understanding success.
LanguageDanish
Publication date15 Oct 2019
Number of pages78
ID: 312473575