Ping Pong Poms: Emotional Reflexivity in Return Migration from Australia to the UK

Mary Holmes, Roger Burrows

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

About 20,000 people from the United Kingdom emigrate to Australia each year. Of these, a significant number return to the United Kingdom, and some return again to Australia. Studies of such patterns of migration and return (and return again) were quite common a few decades ago, but are now rare. This paper makes use of a contemporary data source – an Internet‑mediated discussion forum – to explore the experiences of modern ‘ping‑pong poms’. A picture emerges of these migrants as exercising emotional reflexivity in dealing with the pull of family left behind,‘homesickness’, the lack of a sense of belonging and their often‑disappointed dreams of a ‘better life’. By understanding the importance of emotions in people’s decisions about return migration, policy can better attend to the realities of more mobile lives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-123
JournalAustralian Journal of Social Issues
Volume47
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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