University of Sussex
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The 'return' of British-born Cypriots to Cyprus: a narrative ethnography

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posted on 2023-06-07, 15:47 authored by Janine C J Teerling
My thesis is the product of an in-depth qualitative study of the ‘return’ of British-born Cypriots to Cyprus. By specifically focusing on the second generation, my thesis seeks to rectify the lacuna in research on the second generation’s connections to the ethnic homeland, capitalising on these migrants’ positionalities with respect to questions of home and belonging. The thesis consists of eight chapters: Chapter 1 introduces the context in which the research was conducted; Chapter 2 provides the historical and geographical background for the Cypriot migration experience; Chapter 3 presents the methodological and ethical context in which my research was conducted; Chapters, 4, 5, 6 are the main empirical chapters, discussing the British-born Greek-Cypriot returnees’ experiences, motives and viewpoints, from childhood memories to today’s adult experiences; Chapter 7 provides an additional comparative angle through the inclusion of a subsample of British-born Turkish Cypriots; and finally, Chapter 8, my concluding chapter, revisits the research questions, draws comparisons with other empirical studies on second-generation return, and re-evaluates my methodological framework. Through the voices and life-narratives of second-generation British-Cypriot ‘return’ migrants – following a biographical timeline – the multifaceted perspectives in which notions of ‘return’, ‘home’ and ‘belonging’ can be viewed and experienced in a migratory context are revealed. My study shows the complexities and ambivalences involved when exploring ideas of ‘identity’ and ‘return’, views of ‘home’, and feelings of ‘belonging’ in the ancestral homeland – demonstrating how boundaries of such notions are blurred, eroded and re-established by a new generation of migrants, reflecting their time, experiences, choices and ideologies. My findings deconstruct the meaning of ‘return’, move beyond the primordial cultural confines of notions of ‘belonging’, and challenge the simple dichotomy of ‘home’ versus ‘away’, revealing new similarities (and differences) beyond such predefined labels and categories, which form the building blocks for new, contemporary, ways and spaces of belonging.


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