Return to Afghanistan: Migration as Reinforcement of Socio-Economic Stratification

Marieke van Houte*, Melissa Siegel, Tine Davids

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper explores a new avenue of the hierarchisation of mobility amongst voluntary and involuntary return migrants to Afghanistan. We introduce the concept of multidimensional and multi-local embeddedness as an analytical approach to the multi-sited experience of migration, which merges transnationalism and integration into one analytical framework. Drawing on an in-depth case study that focuses on the life histories of 35 Afghan returnees from European countries, we argue that socio-economic differences that existed prior to migration are reinforced by the migration experience, which results in strongly differentiated patterns of multidimensional embeddedness and transnational mobility. These patterns reinforce previously existing socio-economic stratification and restrict expectations of return migration and development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)692-703
JournalPopulation Space and Place
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


  • return migration
  • embeddedness
  • mobility
  • inequality
  • Afghanistan

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