IMI Visiting Fellow Nauja Kleist presents her research on return migration in the context of restrictive mobility regimes in Europe and Africa, within theories on hope, (im)mobility, social fields, gender, and belonging.
Contemporary migration is characterized by a mobility paradox. The increased reach and accessibility of communication, media and transport technologies mean that people in many parts of the world are exposed to visions of the good life elsewhere while restrictive mobility regimes makes access to the global circuits of legal mobility increasingly difficult.
In this paper Nauja argues that hope constitutes a productive analytical framework for studies of migration in the light of this mobility paradox, highlighting potentiality as well as uncertainty. She explores this through a case study of life after deportation to Ghana with a focus on conflicting notions of hope. Returning empty-handed is widely embedded in shame and a sense of individualized failure, despite widespread knowledge of the uncertainty related to high-risk migration. Nauja suggests that this conundrum is an expression of the local persistence of social hope in the lack of desirable alternatives which I further explore in the seminar.