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    Brazilian Return Migration: Debt, Freedom and Melancholia

    Gouveia, Diana (2015) Brazilian Return Migration: Debt, Freedom and Melancholia. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Migration policy has been dominated by ideas of ‘rootedness’ which ascribe people to territorial borders, and renders migrants as ‘uprooted’. However, increasingly, migrants reject the world map of fixed borders and maintain lives here and there, without necessarily ‘rooting’ themselves anywhere. In this thesis, I argue that a discussion on migration must inquire into the complexities of migration as a process that extends from pre-migration to possible re-migration, and whose parts are not reducible to a series of discontinuous and fixed events. Research conducted in Ireland and in Brazil enabled me to go beyond and behind cultural and national common-sense assumptions and into the everyday life of Brazilian migrants to Ireland and in Brazil. Through an examination of relations of debt, kinship obligations, money, consumption, modernity, individual freedom, and melancholia which are prevalent matters in the lives of Brazilian migrants, I enquire into the everyday relations that migrants maintain with others and within which they constitute themselves. I argue that migration to Ireland enables a degree of individual freedom in economic terms and access to a world of consumption; it also offers the experience of an alternative form of modernity and the consideration of the possibility of a different kind of life. However, this possibility is nearly always articulated in the everyday in relation to the moral imperatives and commitments to kin in Brazil. Whilst migrants display cosmopolitanism through the experience of migration they also remain deeply committed to traditional kinship expectations and patterns of reciprocity. I argue that, for Brazilian migrants, freedom is found in moments of ‘disjunction’ and within the balance achieved between obligations to kin and obligations to oneself. I also argue that migrants have the ability to become part of different nations and to belong to different communities without this implying a rupture with any of the two.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Brazilian Return Migration; Debt; Freedom; Melancholia;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Anthropology
    Item ID: 6515
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2015 15:51
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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