Ping-Pong Poms: Emotional Reflexivity in Contemporary Return Migration from Australia to the United Kingdom

By Holmes, Mary; Burrows, Roger | Australian Journal of Social Issues, Autumn 2012 | Go to article overview

Ping-Pong Poms: Emotional Reflexivity in Contemporary Return Migration from Australia to the United Kingdom


Holmes, Mary, Burrows, Roger, Australian Journal of Social Issues


Introduction

Emigration from the United Kingdom to Australia has long been the subject of scholarly study, (1) but there are few detailed analyses of those who return, (2) and of the emotional aspects of return migration (Skrbis 2008). As Hammerton and Thomson (2005: 264) express it: 'Return migrants are voices we rarely hear in Australian history. Migration histories often neglect returnees, focusing instead on the struggles and successes of the migrants who stay on'. Yet the numbers involved in such return migration are considerable. Estimates suggest that just over 25 per cent of postwar British migrants to Australia returned to the United Kingdom at some point after arrival, although not necessarily permanently (Hammerton & Thomson 2005: 264). Measuring return migration continues to be plagued by the same difficulties Appleyard (1962a, 1962b) noted in the 1960s: rates of return change markedly over time; they vary for different types of migrants; and the figures struggle to cope with the significant numbers of return migrants who then re-emigrate to Australia, and those who become back and forth serial returners (Hammerton & Thomson 2005: 264-65). To understand why significant proportions of migrants return, and why some re-migrate, we argue that it is crucial to examine the emotional reflexivity involved in migration decisions.

With the limitations of migration figures in mind, we begin by providing some indicative statistics on those who return to the United Kingdom from Australia. After explaining the concept of emotional reflexivity and why it is important in understanding migration, we give a brief outline of our exploratory study of return migrants via a popular online discussion forum. This study illustrates how migrants are emotionally reflexive in deciding whether to return 'home' permanently or re-migrate. From this data, three key emotional factors emerge in prompting return migration: feeling obliged to be near family in the United Kingdom; feelings of homesickness or a lack of belonging; and feeling disappointed that the 'dream life' they migrated in search of has not materialised.

Patterns of migration

The largest component of Australia's population growth continues to be from net overseas migration. In 2010, for example, 57.2 per cent of recorded growth was due to immigration (Australian Government 2011: 63-66). Migrants therefore continue to be extremely important to the future development and growth of Australia (Markus et al. 2009). Historically, those from the United Kingdom, especially the English, have settled in Australia in the greatest numbers (Jupp 2001, 2004; Roe 2002; Hammerton & Thomson 2005)--partly due to immigration measures known as the white Australia policy (Windschuttle 2004; Tavan 2005). Of the 22 million people living in Australia in 2010 some 26 per cent were originally born outside of Australia and by far the largest number--over 20 per cent of these--were originally born in the United Kingdom (3) (Australian Government 2011: 83). New settlers from the United Kingdom still arrive in Australia in large numbers. As Table 1 shows, between 2005 and 2010 almost 107,000 new settlers arrived from the United Kingdom. (4)

However, as has long been the case, significant numbers of immigrants return to their original countries (Appleyard 1962a, 1962b; Lukomskyi & Richards 1986; Hammerton & Thomson 2005; Harper 2005; Conway & Potter 2009). Between 2005 and 2010, just over 30,000 'permanent settlers' who were originally born in the United Kingdom decided to 'permanently leave'. (5) Not all of them returned to the United Kingdom, but almost 18,000 (59 per cent) of them did so. Over this five-year period, the number of UK-born people leaving Australia for any destination represented over 28 per cent of the number arriving; and the proportion of UK-born people leaving to go back to the United Kingdom was almost 17 per cent of the number arriving. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Ping-Pong Poms: Emotional Reflexivity in Contemporary Return Migration from Australia to the United Kingdom
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.