Dr Benjamin Etzold
In the Trajectories of Reintegration project, we encountered the following contradiction: Peacebuilding and political actors working on return policies rarely take into account the experiences of people going through a return process. The recently launched RE-MIG project will explore these experiences and argue for their inclusion in policymaking.
RE-MIG empirically studies the role and meaning that displaced people and returnees attach to the notions of return, how they relate to people at ‘home’ and at the place of living, and how their aspirations and hopes for the future shape their lives. We also explore the role of identity and the social boundaries that are drawn and re-drawn during violent conflict, political transitions and (re)migration. By disseminating our findings to political decision-makers and practitioners, we hope to contribute to more informed and inclusive policymaking on displaced people and their (potential) return.
Using a qualitative and multi-sited research design, our study will be based on extensive field research in eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the Western Balkans. Outputs will include policy papers, academic publications, blog posts, capacity exchange workshops and policy events
The return of displaced people plays an important role in the political agendas of international actors, including for those involved in peacebuilding and those working on return and readmission policies. The perspectives of the displaced themselves, in particular of so-called minority groups, are, however, hardly considered. Taking into account the perceptions and aspirations of displaced and returned persons must be key for finding solutions for their displacement and for building inclusive communities.