To Make a Difference: Expectations and Reconfigurations of Value in Return Migration to Cuba
Monday 9 November 14.30-16.30
In recent decades, migration to Cuba has acquired particular value: migrating is synonymous with success, gives prestige, and creates great expectations among family members, friends, and acquaintances who remain at home. In this context, the life and choices of migrants who decide to return to live on the island are the object of great attention, debate, and speculation.
On the evaluation that follows depends the attribution of a more or less "successful" or "failed" migration. Among the most awaited and valued qualities, which serve as a measure of success, we find economic prosperity and the willingness to reinvest the money saved "at home". The imperative, for returning migrants, is to demonstrate the value of their journey, and to share its fruits.
My presentation will focus on the efforts made by emigrants who returned to live in Cuba after the European economic crisis (post 2008) to instill meaning and value in their migratory trajectories and choices. From the materialisation of the wealth acquired (e.g., home, goods, capital), to the foreshadowing of an imminent success, to the valorisation of their skills and abilities acquired abroad, the imperative to "make a difference" is highlighted, revealing how migrants strive to show distinctive signs of a better life or to dissipate responsibility for (supposed) failures.
The attention to the structural and relational conditions that accompany these itineraries and influence their judgment, helps us to think about the ethical and moral dimensions of return, migration, and the values that it brings into play.
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