Global Migration Centre
12 January 2021

Freedom and Obligation: Challenges from Return Migration in Cuba

Join Valerio Simoni, Senior Researcher of the BETLIV funded ERC project for an online Seminar at the University of Lisbon.

Freedom and Obligation: Challenges from Return Migration in Cuba


In Cuba, migration tends to generate intense expectations, notably in terms of the economic improvements that the migrants’ channeling of resources ‘back home’ is due to bring about. In the case of migrants who return to live in Cuba, the obligation to ‘give back’, show allegiance, and respond to the demands of family, friends and acquaintances, is in tension with the sense of openness and freedom to be and think otherwise that their migratory trajectories also encourage and are associated with.

The analysis of such tensions reveals the predicament in which some returnees find themselves, caught between the imperative to belong and redistribute locally the gains of their migration, and the drive to embody and articulate changes in lifestyle, worldviews, and moral ways of being that are explicitly linked to their experiences abroad. Paying attention to the range of possibilities that a small group of returnees navigate and to the challenges they encounter, and reflecting on the role of ethnography in the process, the presentation aims to contribute to current debates in the anthropology of ethics and morality, particularly in regard to notions of obligation and freedom. Based on the research’s initial findings, the call is for more empirically grounded explorations to uncover not only these notions’ situated workings and potential, but also their limits and trapping effects.

Valerio Simoni

Seminarios GI Identidades, Culturas e Vulnerabilidades, Instituto de Ciências Sociais (ICS), Universidade Lisboa

21 of January 2021, 12:00 CET

Zoom link
ID : 917 0226 1515 - Password: y5n81M


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