Front Cover
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Introductory essay: The dynamics...
 Part I. Papers on return migra...
 Part II. Notes on remittances
 Appendix A. Notes on contribut...
 Appendix B. Notes on editors

Group Title: RIIES occasional papers
Title: Return migration and remittances
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00087174/00001
 Material Information
Title: Return migration and remittances developing a Caribbean perspective
Series Title: RIIES occasional papers
Physical Description: lxvii, 322 p. : ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Stinner, William F
De Albuquerque, Klaus
Bryce-Laporte, Roy S.
Research Institute on Immigration and Ethnic Studies (Smithsonian Institution)
Publisher: Research Institute on Immigration and Ethnic Studies, Smithsonian Institution
Place of Publication: Washington D.C
Publication Date: 1982
Subject: Return migration -- Caribbean Area   ( lcsh )
Emigrant remittances -- Caribbean Area   ( lcsh )
Migration de retour -- Caraïbes (Région)   ( rvm )
Envois de fonds des émigrants -- Caraïbes (Région)   ( rvm )
Emigration and immigration -- United States   ( lcsh )
Emigration and immigration -- Caribbean Area   ( lcsh )
Emigración e inmigración -- Discursos, ensayos, conferencias -- EE.UU
Emigración e inmigración -- Discursos, ensayos, conferencias -- Caribe, Area del
Émigration et immigration -- États-Unis   ( rvm )
Émigration et immigration -- Caraïbes (Région)   ( rvm )
Genre: federal government publication   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Dominican Republic
Costa Rica
Puerto Rico
Statement of Responsibility: edited by William F. Stinner, Klaus de Albuquerque, and Roy S. Bryce-Laporte.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographies.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00087174
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 08953227
lccn - 82600341

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Half Title
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
    Table of Contents
        Page vi
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    Introductory essay: The dynamics of Caribbean return migration
        Page xxxvii
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    Part I. Papers on return migration
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Return migration to the English-speaking Caribben: Review and commentary
            Page 3
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        The origins and continuity of return migration in the Leeward Caribbean
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        "In sick longing for the further shore": Return migration by Caribbean East Indians during the nineteeth and twentieth centuries
            Page 45
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        International return migration: Socio-demographic determinant of return migration to the Dominican Republic
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        Return migration from the United States to Costa Rica and El Salvador
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        The Newyorican comes home to Puerto Rico: Description and consequences
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        The Puerto Rican circuit and the success of return migrants
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        Why returnees generally do not turn out to be "agents of change": The case of Surinam
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    Part II. Notes on remittances
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        The impact of remittances in the rural English-speaking Caribbean: Notes on the literature
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        The magnitude and impact of remittances in the Eastern Caribbean: A research note
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        Migration remittances and development: Preliminary results of a study of Caribbean cane cutters in Florida
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    Appendix A. Notes on contributors
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    Appendix B. Notes on editors
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Full Text

Return Migration and Remittances:
Developing a Caribbean Perspective

Return Migration and
Developing A
Caribbean Perspective

Edited by
William F Stinner
Klaus de Albuquerque

Roy S. Bryce-Laporte

i RIIES Occasional Papers No. 3
Research Institute on Immigration and Ethnic Studies
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 1982

1982 by the Smithsonian Institution. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America.

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Main entry under title:

Return migration and remittances.

(RIIES occasional papers ; no. 3)
Includes bibliographies.
Supt. of Docs. no.: SI 1.2:M58
1. Return migration--Caribbean area--Addresses,
essays, lectures. 2. Emigrant remittances--Carib-
bean area--Addresses, essays, lectures. 3. United
States--Emigration and immigration--Addresses,
essays, lectures. 4. Caribbean area--Emigration
and immigration--Addresses, essays, lectures.
I. Stinner, William F. II. De Albuquerque, Klaus.

III. Bryce-Laporte, Roy S. IV. Research Institute
on Immigration and Ethnic Studies (Smithsonian
Institution) V. Series.
JV7321.Z6 1982 304.8'73'0729 82-600341

The Research Institute on Immigration and Ethnic Studies
founded in 1973, is part of the Smithsonian's Department of
Anthropology. The Research Institute focuses on immigration flows
which have been affected by legislation since 1965. It also explicitly
includes American extraterritorial jurisdictions among its
scholarly concerns.


Roy S. Bryce-Laporte, Director
Betty Dyson, Administrative Assistant
Constance M. Trombley, Secretary


The Research Institute on Immigration and Ethnic Studies
makes a gift to the membership of the Caribbean Studies Associa-
tion, now in its eighth year of existence, by dedicating this volume
to the memory of our beloved colleague, Dr. Vera Green, a member
of long standing who departed this life on January 16, 1982. We,
the three editors of this volume, recall her unselfish spirit and
steadfast commitment to the Caribbean region, its people and its
study; her perkiness, pleasant presence, and participation in CSA
meetings; and her encouragement and assistance to us in connec-
tion with this project. She was truly appreciated; she will be sadly
Further, the Research Institute on Immigration and Ethnic
Studies of the Smithsonian Institution wishes to dedicate the
collection to Dr. Basil Ince, Past President of CSA and at present
Minister of Foreign Relations of Trinidad and Tobago; Dr. Orville
Goodin, at present Minister of Treasury, Republic of Panama; and
Dr. Vaughn Lewis, Past President of CSA and now Director-General
of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (in St. Lucia). By
their examples, they and other colleagues of our generation con-
tinue a tradition established by an older group of outstanding
Caribbean scholars and reinforce the hope of the continued return
migration of younger, promising Caribbean scholars to perform
high, public services for their peoples and the countries or region
of their birth and early education.


Preface ix
Roy S. Bryce-Laporte

Acknowledgments xxxiii
Introductory Essay: The Dynamics of Caribbean Return
Wlliam F Stinner and Klaus de Albuquerque xxxvii

Part I: Papers on Return Migration
Return Migration to the English-Speaking Caribbean:
Review and Commentary
Hymie Rubenstein 3
The Origins and Continuity of Return Migration in the
Leeward Caribbean
Bonham Richardson 35
"In Sick Longing for the Further Shore": Return Migration
by Caribbean East Indians During the Nineteenth and
Twentieth Centuries ( .
Brinsley Samaroo 45
International Return Migration: Socio-Demographic
Determinant of Return Migration to the Dominican
Antonio Ugalde and Thomas C. Langham 73
Return Migration from the United States to Costa Rica
and El Salvador
Guy Poitras 97
The Newyorican Comes Home to Puerto Rico: Description
and Consequences
Roberta Ann Johnson 129
The Puerto Rican Circuit and the Success of Return
Barry B. Levine 157

Why Returnees Generally Do Not Turn Out to Be "Agents of
Change": The Case of Surinam
Frank Bovenkerk 183

Composite Bibliography on Return Migration 217

Part II: Notes on Remittances
The Impact of Remittances in the Rural English-Speaking
Caribbean: Notes on the Literature
Hymie Rubenstein 237
The Magnitude and Impact of Remittances in the Eastern
Caribbean: A Research Note
Rosemary Brana-Shute and Gary Brana-Shute 267
Migration Remittances and Development: Preliminary
Results of A Study of Caribbean Cane Cutters in Florida
Charles H. Wood 291
Composite Bibliography on Remittances 309
Appendix A: Notes on Contributors 317
Appendix B: Notes on Editors 319


By the time of the release of this volume, the

Research Institute will have entered its tenth year of

official establishment within the Smithsonian Insti-

tution. With this volume, RIIES will have produced

its eleventh publication on the subjects of new and

Caribbean immigrations. Conceived of at a time when the

Smithsonian decided to extend its efforts beyond tradi-

tional concerns for artifacts and events of antiquity to

include the study of ongoing human sociocultural activi-

ties, RIIES was granted membership in the Institution's

family in 1972. (This was one year before it was to

make its appearance as a formal organization with a

director.) As of this earliest association, the Research

Institute was to become committed to share with its

larger parent body its rather well-known responsibili-

ties, "to increase and diffuse knowledge to all [Men],"

charged to it by benefactor James Smithson. Restated,

the formulation of the specific objectives of RIIES

reads as follows:

To stimulate, facilitate, diffuse and conduct
scholarly research on post-1960 immigration
into the United States and its overseas terri-

The year 1972, apart from being the occasion

when RIIES was conceived, is important insofar as it

marked a period in which the latest wave of incoming

foreigners into this country had become an established

reality, with clear patterns of composition, origin and

places of settlement. Ironically, it was also a period

of continued public unawareness and scholarly inatten-

tion to this new presence. It also marked the emergence

of a campaign of anti-immigration forces who were bent

on creating a sense of panic and promoting a negative,

one-sided and isolationist view of the new immigrants

and what their presence as new ethnics as well as added

population would mean to the American society.

Seeking to carry out a higher mission, RIIES

committed itself, instead, to instill serious scholarly

input into the debate and study of new immigration. Its

hopes were (1) to bring about a broader way of viewing

immigration to the American public, and (2) to generate

the details, data and dynamics which could yield a more

accurate picture of the complexity of new immigration as

both a transnational process and a human experience.

From RIIES's own perspective, American immigration is a

process not only of peopling the United States but of

continuing to shape its history, enrich its culture,

and extend its linkages with other countries of the

continent and the world. Hence, it was quite fitting

that it was RIIES which would sponsor the nation's first

major academic conference on the new immigration. It

was in keeping with its purpose and style that a unit of

the Smithsonian Institution would exercise leadership in

an international, public and intellectual endeavor.

Even before its establishment as a nation, the

history of the United States has been one of successive

waves of immigrants not only from the Old World but from

among New World societies as well. Each such wave

has had its particular impact on the shaping of this

country's internal composition and external relations.

By 1960, the United States was again to experience a

"new" wave of immigrants. Massive numbers of Cuban

refugees and later other peoples from Haiti and the

Dominican Republic entered the United States in flight

from dangerous, incompatible political situations in

their respective countries.

By 1965, the United States Congress passed its

most comprehensive immigration legislation. The Act

facilitated entry and change of status for the Cuban

refugees; for others it increased the opportunities for

admission, abolished national quotas and regional or

racial restrictions in favor of near parity in hemis-

pheric ceilings, and introduced a first-come, first-

served arrangement modulated by priorities based on

family reunification and U.S. labor needs. The 1965 Act

also eliminated the Western and Northern European biases

which prevailed in previous immigration legislation and

policies of the United States. The consequences of

these policies and legislative actions, coupled with new

national and international economic imbalances began

to take effect about the same time. The results have

registered in the form of 80,524,843 nonimmigrants,

3,241,844 legal immigrants and 628,912 parolees, and the

estimated two to twelve million illegal immigrants

alleged from the Caribbean, Latin America and Asia,

which are said to inhabit this country today.2 Accord-

ing to the 1980 census estimates, the foreign-born popu-

lation of the United States has increased to 6 percent

of the country's total population, consisting of four-

teen million people; as compared to ten million in 1970.

Today, 10 percent of the country's population speak a

foreign language, 48 percent of those speak Spanish;

and, there are now twenty seven million non-whites (23

percent in. the total United States population). It is

safe to assume that the new immigration has contributed

in some way to these patterns of change.3

Unfortunately, these developments reached their

peaks at the very moment that the current serious econo-

mic crises have begun to confront the United States.

These crises are being felt with special gravity by

its cities, colonies, common working-class people

and minorities who also share disproportionately space

or resources with incoming immigrants, (themselves

emigrating from new, unstable and even more economically


depressed or overpopulated countries.)

The news media moving from a stance of inaction

to one of sporadic sensationalism more often reinforce

the fears raised by anti-immigrationist forces. The

news produce another level of one-sidedness in the

nation's conception of immigration: wild estimates,

repeated police raids of undocumented workers, numerous

refugees coming, none of them leaving! They are being

turned back on the high seas, detained in camps,

forced to depart or are deported! Only the occasional

terrorists, misfits or maniacs would kidnap planes to

return to Havana! Nobody leaves the United States

voluntarily; they only come! Of course, this is not

true. Even true-blooded Americans emigrate from the

United States for "greener pastures." And, as Van B.

Shaw has stated, "Just as many naturalized Americans

become expatriates to return to their original home-

lands, many American expatriates are later repatriated

to the United States." He points out that between

1950 and 1968 almost 15,000 cases of repatriation were

reported by the I.N.S. service.4 But, based on the news

one would conclude differently; that immigration is just

that -- no emigration, no return migration. And, as

the new immigrants or new ethnics enter the population

soars; resources and employment are strained; and

comfort and culture are spoiled! Few consider that a

good many will be themselves or will bear new Americans;

many perhaps fear that they will bring about a new


Under such conditions and influences, it is

understandable that "national" and "local" dimensions of

the immigration problem have been exaggerated in the

minds of the American people, even among native-born

minorities and older established elements of the new

immigrant populations. Most people are unsophisticated

about the more complex international interests and

therefore about the risks and responsibilities this

nation must take as the leading claimant of wealth,

advancement, opportunities and power in the world,

a position which it still finds necessary and worthy to

compete for, maintain and expand.

Too many segments of the American public may

have lost sight or concern with the "international"

nature of the immigration problem, that is where and how

it fits into the United States' roles and aspirations in

world affairs. So many people in the United States

today do not see why they should remember, care or know

what immigration means to new immigrants or to the

peoples and societies they leave behind. They certainly

do not understand beyond chauvinistic romanticism and

gross misperceptions why so many foreign people clamor

to enter the United States. They are not aware of this

country's contributions to these so-called "invasions"

because they do not understand the relationship between

immigration and international relations, world economy,

persuasive politics and big business in which the United

States is so aggressively involved.

This narrow attitude has been reflected even on

the highest levels of U.S. government where for sometime

policies of immigration have been developed and executed

without explicit, rational relations to policies of

development assistance, international relations and

trade (or for that purpose with policies of local ser-

vices and domestic governance) and vice-versa. In fact,

even today, there is still no comprehensive body of

knowledge or guidelines for coordinating contemporary

immigration/emigration dynamics between recipient and

donor societies (or for anticipating local versus

national needs arising out of such movements). Even

more telling is the almost universal absence of reliable

data on emigration, brain drain, return migration,

remittances, remigration and other phenomena reflecting

the situation of source rather than recipient countries.

Ever since its inception, the Research Institute

has been proposing a just, balanced, comprehensive

and international approach to immigration studies and

policies among governments and levels of governments

concerned. Its pleas seemingly ignored and sometimes

misunderstood, perhaps have been too difficult to absorb

or acknowledge in the adversary atmospheres and competi-

tive circles in existence now. Perhaps we, at RIIES,

are too impatient, but we are chagrined that so many of

the needs we have been articulating for almost a decade

continue to exist; that governments have been so slow in

responding to them. Convinced with the validity of our

messages and the relevance of our challenges, conscious

of the criticism and ostracism we have drawn because of

our position, we feel compelled to cooperate and now to

celebrate with those colleagues and supporters who have

come to share with us the broader conception of immigra-

tion and how it should be dealt with. It is for these

reasons that the themes and contents of this volume and

the context in which it emerged are so pleasing to us at


This collection focuses on two themes -- return

migration and remittances -- conceptually different but

not convincingly unrelated aspects of the phenomenon of

immigration, especially as it applies to developing

societies or regions and their emigrants. The notions

of return migration and remittances should bring to the

minds of the readers immediately that immigration is

indeed a complex, multi-level phenomenon with potential

for endurable historical and transnational linkage; it

can also be an infinite human experience. They remind

us that immigration is just one part of an equation;

emigration is another. To have come to a new place of

residence is to have left some place else; but having

adopted a new place need not mean abandoning the old


one. Hence, to have emigrated does not mean never to

return or have the desire of returning nor does it mean

never to remit materiel (that is ideological, symbolic,

structural or tangible goods) and service of worth

to the place of one's origin, belonging and early

upbringing. Accordingly, immigration does not begin or

end automatically with the initial movement and reloca-

tion from one country to another of new residence. It

has macro-structural as well as individualistic dimen-

sions which are registered throughout the process and

which may not be congruent or compatible with each

other (or at least not so easily recognizable as such

without profound or projected study.)

Why do people leave? How much is their leaving

beneficial to them or their country? When and in what

conditions do they desire or actually return? When or

what do they remit in the absence of their physical or

permanent return? To what extent or in what manner are

these beneficial to them or their country or region?

And in what ways and on what levels should these tenden-

cies become parts of the planning and policies of the

related governments? Obviously, the answers to these

questions will be relative and varied. At this time,

however, they are unknown. There is no body of data or

theory on return migration or remittances. Even the

relations between these two forms of behavior are not

clear at this point. These are important issues in


understanding immigration and immigrants, the behavior

of immigrants in their host and source countries, the

relations between two or more countries because of

immigrants, and eventually the role of immigration in

the problems of mobility and internal distribution of

opportunities or resources as well as those of inter-

national inequality, disequilibrium and conflict in the

world order.

Points such as the above are discussed in the

papers and notes of this collection. That they are done

with a Caribbean focus and from a Caribbeanist perspec-

tive is both proper and necessary. After all, seen

historically, the region has experienced both periods of

intense immigration and intense emigration. In fact,

some current states within the region even experience

high circular migration both in the repetitive seasonal

sense of the word as well as persons who re-emigrate

after a period of stay as expatriates in the old

country. Caribbean links through immigration/emigration

extend to many other countries beyond the United States,

but the region's proximity to that country and its

Caribbean holdings, i.e., Puerto Rico and the Virgin

Islands, the demand of prearranged bonds,contracts and

round-trip tickets to ensure repatriation at the end of

temporary stays and, of course, deportation and related

activities make for heightening the probability of

return migration. The sending of remittances back

home can be enhanced by fluctuations in local market

situations and also by discrepancies in economic needs

and potentials between immigrant recipient and sending

countries. Moreover, among the Caribbean people expec-

tations of return and remittances are part of their

immigrant ethos and tradition. But, to date very little

has been published on these subjects as aspects of

Caribbean immigration, and they are not yet parts of

their governments' policies and planning.

Impressed that the issues of emigration, return

migration and remittances are as important from a

contemporary Caribbean perspective as immigration is

today from an American vantage point, RIIES has never

hesitated to include them as part of its concerns.

Hence, note may be taken of the prominence given these

subjects in its programs and publications. For example,

it has published verbatim the articulation for clarity,

coordination and compatibility between the emigration

policies of Jamaica and the immigration policies of the

United States by a diplomat who participated in the

Institute's first planning seminar in 1975.5 Dedicated

to Caribbean immigration, the Institute's first publica-

tion of occasional papers, contain two specific articles

on barriers to returning for West Indian professionals

and one on brain drain by transplanted West Indian scho-

lars, plus several related comments by the editors and

other contributors.6 In a number of RIIES publications

pertinent commentaries and methodological critiques are

offered about both return migration and remittances;7 in

others, especially its volume on female immigrants,

these two specific aspects of international migration

are treated on the personal level as well.8

In my own case, leaving my family behind, I came

to the United States as a foreign student with serious

intentions of returning to my native Panama or other

countries in the larger circum-Caribbean region where I

can trace my ancestral background and follow my extended

kinship. However, I was disposed to extend my stay

and change my status, if necessary, if extraordinary

opportunities arose which could render greater security

or development for me and my family or to improve my

skills, status and saleability or strategic re-entry

into my country or region of origin. Not having

returned nor having had an opportunity for such a re-

entry, I (as a black, alien scholar) do suffer what may

be termed the underside or psychological anxieties of

the brain drain. These are feelings of alienation and

ambivalence of identity, despite my relative success in

the United States. Consequently, as an apparent compen-

satory readjustment to the ever-compelling sense of

indebtedness and commitment to those left behind, the

causes of small developing countries, minorities and

immigrants (especially those with circum-Caribbean

affiliations) have become the objects of my service and

of my United States-acquired scholarship. I suppose

these efforts constitute personal forms of remittances

in lieu, or in anticipation, of returning.9

Hence, going back to my early writing, it is

possible to find many points which may still be relevant

for consideration as minimal objectives for realizing

such plans and policies; for example:

1. Balanced, integrated and well-planned bilateral
and regional programs in economic development,
population control, and international migration
(including the consideration of new targets or
arrangements for Caribbean migration).

2. Equitable international and internal redis-
tribution of wealth and industries as long-term
projects ... instead of massive movements of people
to the United States as permanent immigrants you
[may] have massive movements of them to the United
States as non-immigrants, largely as tourists and

3. Coordinated evaluation of data, research and
policies, particularly on demographic and economic
strategies, with the intention of enabling the
pan-Caribbean community to monitor migration and
trade within the region and also to operate as
a single economic community when dealing with
countries outside the region, or with other regions
of international economic cooperation and inter-
national consortia.

4. ... If emigration becomes an explicit policy
of these islands, aid in cosmopolitanizing and
upgrading educational systems is necessary to
prepare prospective immigrants and to develop
skills and scientific methods to increase and
improve their own economic development therefore
reducing the need for massive unqualified out-
migration in the long run.

5. Protection of welfare and rights of migrants,
tourists, and investors; also the discontinuation
of exploitation of recent immigrants in terms of
low-paying jobs and poor living and working condi-


6. Redefinition and extension of the concepts of
nation, nationality, citizenship, and so forth, so
as to project over boundaries of time and space and
allow source-countries to share the benefits of
immigrants leaving their shores and locating in
other countries their offspring and repatriates.
Among other things, this means a serious look at
the institutionalization of remittances and
repatriation as part of an additional or indirect
source of revenue, investment capital, manpower
and intellectual resources which the region and
source-countries may begin to anticipate in their
long-term developmental planning. u

Thus, I make a case for my long-held concern

that Caribbean countries should pursue a careful formu-

lation of developmental plans and policies which capita-

lize on the Caribbean emigration tendency, the presence

of large numbers of Caribbean immigrants and offspring

as workers and professionals in advanced industrial

societies, their tenacious identification with the home

region and consequently their disposition to return or

to send remittances back home. Indeed, since these

ideas were published some Caribbean countries and orga-

nizations, e.g., Cuba, Guyana, Grenada, U.S. Virgin

Islands and UNICA (Universities of the Caribbean Associ-

ation) have sought to pursue innovative methods for

re-establishing instrumental linkages and instituting

recruitment and research programs directed to West

Indian expatriates and their offspring to consider

returning or rendering service to the region or their

respective countries of origin. For this and other

reasons, hitherto scattered as minor items within larger

works or other discussions, the topics of Caribbean


return migration and remittances now deserve treatment

in an exclusive and prominent manner.11

In that sense, this volume fills a critical

void in the state of the literature. Perhaps it also

represents the beginning of a thrust toward serious

discussion of the topic and the larger matter of

Caribbean immigration from an instrumental but strictly

Caribbean perspective. It is important to note here

that unlike other RIIES publications this volume did

not originate from the Institute's initiative but was

created from panels of two important regional studies

associations -- Caribbean Studies Association and the

Latin American Studies Association. In reality the

papers were drawn from proceedings of three different

panels. Originally intended as a volume on the CSA

panel on return migration, organized by my two

colleagues and held in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles, in

1980, the principal papers constitute the first section

of the collection. Critical statements on the less

attended notion but closely related item of remittances

comprise a second section. These papers were drawn from

the panels of a LASA meeting held in Washington, D.C. in

1982 and the CSA meetings held in Kingston, Jamaica, in

the same year.

The order of presentation of the contents is

intended to carry the reader from general to specific

treatments of each subject -- return migration and


remittances. In the process neither chronology nor the

analysis of sub-cultural variants will be observed in a

strict manner, though some degree of clustering will be

attempted. As a pioneer collection and also because the

entries still comprise part of an incipient literature,

theoretical gaps and data limitations are to be expected

in their contents. Similarly, crosscutting themes

rather than thematic coherence prevail helped along by

the inclusion of two useful composite bibliographies,

each presented at the end of the appropriate section of

the book.

To help set the stage my colleagues, co-editors

Stinner and Albuquerque, present an introductory essay

which discusses levels, attributes and dynamics of

return migration. Their framework guides the readers to

the location and importance of crosscutting commentaries

on the same, and raises a set of questions which not

only prepare the readers for the readings which follow

but leaves them impressed by the many outstanding

challenges which still remain to be researched by those

of us who wish to understand or act upon the Caribbean

tendency of return migration. Rubenstein's review com-

mentary on return migration in the English-speaking

Caribbean and Richardson's historical specifications

on Leeward Islanders add depth and insight about the

return migration pattern of the creole population whose

initial outward movements have been somewhat familiar to


students of the history of the region. But, Samaroo

goes beyond specification and introduces novelty and

comparison by bringing to our attention East Indian

immigrants who left the Caribbean to go back to the

Indian peninsula.

Imbalances in our knowledge and distortions of

our stereotypes of Caribbean return migration are even

sharper in the case of Hispanic variant countries. With

the exception of Puerto Rico we have mistakenly assumed

emigration to the United States to be low from the

Hispanic Caribbean countries when not politically stimu-

lated. We often forget that even prior to Castro, Cuba

was the leading source of immigration to the United

States among the sovereign countries of the region.12

By their articles Ugalde, Langham and Poitras share with

us characteristics of repatriates from "new" source

countries such as the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica or

El Salvador whereas Johnson and Levine provide us in-

depth views of the experiences and aftermaths of Puerto

Ricans, a people with a long, extensive history of

immigration and return. Epics on return immigrants are

part of the lore and literature of many of the Caribbean

islands; excellence, sometimes excesses, in leadership

among repatriated statesmen and politicians has char-

acterized much of contemporary Caribbean history.

Probable consequences of return migration as this

translates into mobility, success, and status acqui-


sition among returning Surinamese are discussed by

Bovenkerk. His conclusions, like those of the studies

of remittances which follow, suggest the need for

caution and specification rather than gross, overly

optimistic generalizations about the impact of return

migration; the same we shall see is true of remittances.

The second section begins with a useful transi-

tion provided by Rubenstein which shows the connection

between return migration and remittances as parts of the

return expectation syndrome which characterizes Carib-

bean immigrants. The two research notes which follow

testify to the yet unheralded status of the subject.

The survey of the literature on remittances to the

Eastern Caribbean by the Brana-Shutes and the empirical

observations of Wood on English-speaking West Indian

canecutters in Florida are, in their own rights, reports

on works-in-progress which will begin to fill an

unfortunate void. All three of these works represent,

as well, encouraging strides in our attempts to deal

with the impact of remittances on both macro- and

micro-levels. For, the subjects of return migration

and remittances, as we have said before, are not

only essential for acquiring a knowledge of Caribbean

history, society and culture but for arriving at

adequate development plans and appropriate policies for

the mobility of people as well as the development of

countries in the region. Their varied and limited


impact at this time may as well be the function of their

low use as variables and low priority as targets in more

comprehensive development planning.

Pulling these two themes -- return migration

and remittances -- under one cover necessarily has

delayed the publication. But in the long run it will

have enriched the conceptualization of their individual

and interconnecting importance to the Caribbean in the

interests of regional development. As for us at RIIES,

the publication of this particular volume rendered

us the manifold encouragement to have witnessed the

diffusion of our concerns among other Caribbeanist

scholars and their associations, and to have partici-

pated in the production of a pioneering effort in the

discussion of Caribbean immigration from a Caribbean

perspective. The interdisciplinary, interinstitutional,

international collaboration it represents augers well

for the future of the kinds of insiders-outsiders

dialogues and deliberations which RIIES has sought to

promote in the study of international immigration and

shaping of related policies. The balance in such

determinations demands active participation and there-

fore various levels of input from scholars and experts

not only from recipient but source countries as well.

We hope that the readers will therefore appre-

ciate this work not simply for what it says or what it

asks, but we hope that they would appreciate it as well


for what it means. It is a statement of a growing sense

of purpose, priority and perspective among scholars

committed to encouraging more Caribbeanist studies

of Caribbean immigration. It may be a signal that

we are at the threshold of conscientious, competent

collaboration between Caribbean scholars, officials,

experts and their counterparts in the United States and

other target countries toward more comprehensive and

complementary policies in international migration and

development. Its contents point to specific kinds of

transnational/transregional interactions, bonds, struc-

tures and processes which emerge from significant or

sustained movements of people, resources, technology and

ideas across international borders in a world of unequal

development and which deserve continued expert atten-


Hence, in terminating, it seems useful to

restate what I think comprise some imperatives for

scholars of international migration, especially those

in the developed recipient societies, particularly as

their works should relate to the subject matters of

this volume -- return migration and remittances to less

developed, source societies:

Immigration of any sort has not rendered any
emergent country (or colonized state for that
matter) free of the influence of its emigrants

Scholars (word inserted by author) must attend
to the yet unheralded, in some cases unrecog-


nized, linkages and organizations which migra-
tion represents and the trajectories of those
various structural forms which emerge in the
process of migration. They must begin to
contribute their specific expertise and infor-
mation into channels directed to the formation
of comprehensive, multilateral views of devel-
opment ... and (word introduced by author)
must demonstrate their sensitivity by offering
appropriate opportunities for truly equal
coparticipation with their 'ethnic' colleagues
in source countries and various points along
the migrant stream (italicized by author).13

If and when such considerations begin to be the

regular practices among Caribbeanists, then the perspec-

tive promised by this volume will become an heralded

reality in itself.

Roy S. Bryce-Laporte



lSee brochure defining functions of Research Institute
on Immigration and Ethnic Studies.
2NS Reports, 1965-1979.

3Census Report 1980; "The Numbers on America," Washing-
ton Post, 20 April 1982, p. A-l; "American Society A
Changing Mosaic, Census Ancestry Study Shows," Press
Release CB82-66 U.S. Census Bureau, 11 May 1982, p. 2;
and "Table 1. Reported Single and Multiple Ancestries:
November 1979," Ancestry and Language in the United
States: November 1979, Current Population Reports,
Special Studies Series P-23, No. 116 (Washington,
D.C.: U..S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Census),
p. 7.

4Van B. Shaw, "Greener Pastures: American Expatriation
and Expatriates," in Quantitative Data and Immigration
Research, eds. Stephen R. Couch and Roy Simon Bryce-
Laporte (Washington, D.C.: RIIES, Smithsonian Institu-
tion, 1979), p. 185.

5"Appendix A. Preliminary Planning Conference, Source-
book on the New Immigration: Supplement, Vol. II, ed.
Roy S. Bryce-Laporte with Delores M. Mortimer and
Stephen R. Couch (Washington, D.C.: RIIES, Smithson-
ian Institution, 1979), pp. 220-243.

6Carribean Immigration to the United States, eds.
Roy S. Bryce-Laporte and Delores M. Mortimer, RIIES
Occasional Papers No. 1 (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian
Institution, 1976), see particularly Theodore A.
Bremner, "The Caribbean Expatriate: Barriers to
Returning -- Perspectives of the Natural Scientist,"
pp. 149-157; Edwin H. Daniel, "Perspectives on the
Total Utilization of Manpower and the Caribbean
Expatriate: Barriers to Returning," pp. 158-168; Rawle
Farley, "Professional Migration: The Brain Drain from
the West Indies and Africa -- Abbreviated Remarks,"
pp. 169-181.

7See list of RIIES publications in Appendix.

8Female Immigrants to the United States: Caribbean,
Latin American, and African Experiences, eds. Delores
M. Mortimer and Roy S. Bryce-Laporte, RIIES Occasional
Papers No. 2 (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institu-
tion, 1981), see particularly Dorothy Payne Bryan,
"Nigerian Women and Child-Bearing Practices in
Washington, D.C.: A Summary of Research Findings and
Implications," pp. 157-170; Donna Grey, "Caribbean
Women and the Brain Drain" (Quotation), p. 171;


Barbara T. Christian, "Black, Female, and Foreign-
born: A Statement," pp. 172-176; Eugenia A. Franklin-
Springer, "Ma, I Remember" (Poem), p. 177; and Roy S.
Bryce-Laporte, "Obituary to a Female Immigrant and
Scholar: Lourdes Casal (1938-1981)," pp. 349-355.

9Roy S. Bryce-Laporte, "The New Immigration: A Chal-
lenge to Our Sociological Imagination," in source-
book on the New Immigration: Implications for the
United States and the International Community, Vol. I,
ed. Roy S. Bryce-Laporte assisted by Delores M.
Mortimer and Stephen R. Couch (New Brunswick, NJ:
Transaction, Inc., 1979), pp. 459-472.

10Roy S. Bryce-Laporte, "Black Immigrants: The
Experience of Invisibility and Inequality," Journal of
Black Studies 3:1(September 1972): 29-56; "Options for
Consideration in Caribbean Education," in Caribbean
American Scholars Exchange Program (New York: Phelps-
Stokes Fund, 1973), pp. 67-74; "Black Immigrants" in
Through Different Eyes, eds. P.I. Rose, S. Rothman and
W.J. Wilson (New York: Oxford University Press, 1973);
"Migration and Ethnicity: A Commentary on Inequality,
Power and Development," in Migration and Development:
Implications for Ethnic Identity and Political
Conflict, eds. Helen Safa and Brian Du Toit (Paris:
The Hague, Mouton Publishers, 1975), pp. 311-318;
"Redefining the Role of the United States in Caribbean
Migration and Development," in The Caribbean Yearbook
of International Relations, 1976, ed. Leslie F.
Manigat (Leyden, Netherlands: A. W. Sijthoff, 1977),
pp. 287-310; "Caribbean Migration to the United
States: Some Tentative Conclusions," in The Brain
Drain from the West Indies and Africa, eds. Norma A.
Niles and Trevor G. Gardner (East Lansing: West
Indian Student Association, Michigan State University,
1977), pp. 137-143; "Migration to the United States:
Some Implications for Caribbean Governments and Their
Educators," in Caribbean-American Perspectives (New
York: Phelps-Stokes Fund, 1978), pp. 75-78.

llMost discussions of Caribbean return migration con-
centrate on Puerto Rican migrants. A principal study
on this is J. Hernandez Alverez, Return Migration to
Puerto Rico, Population Monograph Series, No. 1
(Berkeley: Institute of International Studies,
University of California, 1967); see also Frank
Bonilla and Ricardo Campos, Labor Migration Under
Capitalism: The Puerto Rican Experience, (New York:
History Task Force, Center for Puerto Rican Studies,
CCNY, 1981); Adalberto Lopez, "The Puerto Rican
Diaspora: A Survey" in Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans:
Studies in History and Society, eds. Adalberto Lopez
and James Petras (New York: John Wiley and Sons,


1974), pp. 316-346; George C. Myers and George
Masnick, "The Migration Experience of New York Puerto
Ricans: A Perspective on Return," International
Migration Review, 2:2 (1968): 89-90; Eva E. Sandis,
"Characteristics of Puerto Rican Migrants To and From
the United States," International Migration Review 4:2
(1970): 22-43.

12See INS Reports 1951-1965.

13Roy S. Bryce-Laporte, "Migration and Ethnicity: A
Commentary on Inequality, Power and Development," in
Migration and Development: Implications for Ethnic
Identity and Political Conflict, eds. Helen Safa and
Brian Du Toit (Paris: The Hague, Mouton Publishers,
1975), pp. 317-318.



This production is a bit more involved than

ordinary, in that it represents sustained collaborative

efforts, interpersonal communication and a sense of

collective commitment among its contributors over long

distances and much time. Originally drawn from papers

read at three different conferences, this integrated

collection is the result of a wide variety of inputs of

different kinds and from different sources culminating

in another publication in the occasional series of the

Research Institute on Immigration and Ethnic Studies.

Without promising perfection, we hope that all who read

it and we want to believe that all who have contributed

to its realization will find it reasonably satisfactory

in form, content, message and significance given the

special circumstances in which it developed.

There is always the high risk involved in such

cooperative efforts that all those who deserve public

mention and thanks are not covered or covered appropri-

ately. We hope to avoid such blunder but to be doubly

sure, we the editors in a collective fashion begin the

acknowledgements with a general and sincere announcement

of thanks to all who contributed to the completion of

the project -- one of significance not only because it


has been at last realized but because it could be the

first of a new direction of concern and yet another form

of cooperation among Caribbean-oriented scholars located

across and beyond the region itself. In like fashion,

we acknowledge Professor Anthony Maingot, now Caribbean

Studies Association President, for his cooperation then

as program chairman in facilitating the original meeting

from which the main papers were drawn; Dawn Marshall,

Val Carnegie and others, including the late Vera Green

for their participation as presenters and commentators

on that panel; and the local institutions which cooper-

ated in planning and hosting each of the panels from

which papers were drawn to make up this publication. We

also thank the authors for the diligence and patience

they displayed in face of the length of time involved in

the creating of an integrated collection from the

individual submissions they presented us.

There are acknowledgements which each of us

would like to make as well. William Stinner wishes to

acknowledge the excellent secetarial assistance of Cindy

Williamson and the support services provided by the

Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology

and the Population Research Laboratory at Utah State

University. Special acknowledgements go to Dr. William

F. Lye, Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and

Social Sciences, and Professor Yun Kim, Director of the

Population Research Laboratory and former Head of the


Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology,

Utah State University for their consistent encouragement

and support of his research efforts; Dr. Gordon F.

DeJong of the Department of Sociology and Population

Issues Research Office of the Pennsylvania State

University who alerted him during his postgraduate

training to the interesting challenges awaiting someone

who elects to explore the interconnections between

sociology and demography; and his colleague, Dr. Michael

B. Toney, for constructive and valuable comments on a

draft of the Introductory Essay. A special debt of

gratitude goes to his mother and late father, immigrants

themselves to this country, without whose persistent

sacrifices very early on, his academic odyssey would

not, in the very first place, have been possible; his

brother, Bob, for his unswerving support during his

undergraduate years at Columbia; and, his wife, Carol,

for always being the beacon bringing him through the

many uncharted waters he has travelled.

Klaus de Albuquerque wishes to acknowledge the

support he received from his colleagues and the staff of

the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of the

College of Charleston, South Carolina.

Roy S. Bryce-Laporte wishes to acknowledge

Constance Trombley and Katherine Williams for their

persistent and reliable technical assistance in the

preparation and proofreading of the manuscript, respec-


tively; Betty Dyson and Sherill Berger for their timely

administrative interventions, and the staffs of the

Smithsonian Institution Press and the Contracts Office

for their continued support of RIIES' efforts to comply

with its objectives to disseminate knowledge about yet-

unappreciated areas of crucial importance in U.S.-

Caribbean relations.

Neither the contents nor the ideas of this

volume represent policies of the Smithsonian Institu-

tion; they are the responsibilities of the editors and

respective contributors.

William F. Stinner

Klaus de Albuquerque

Roy S. Bryce-Laporte




William F. Stinner and Klaus de Albuquerque

The past decade has witnessed the emergence of a

sizeable interest in return migration encompassing both

internal and international migration flows.1 Respecting

internal migration, one body of research has been

focused on the role of return migration in the reversal

of long standing rural to urban and intraregional migra-

tion flows in many postindustrial societies.2 The other

body of research on internal migration patterns has been

undertaken in peripheral societies with a concentration

on return migration flows between urban centers and

rural villages.3

Shifting the attention to the international

sphere, research has primarily been couched within a

sociospatial framework of return migration from metro-

pole to peripheral societies.4 In the specific empiri-

cal instance of the Caribbean, this research is

inclusive of return migration from the United States and

Europe.5 Of additional interest and importance within

the Caribbean setting are the myriad intraregional

return migration streams which have prevailed both


historically and in contemporary times as well as the

return of indentured East Indians from the Caribbean to


Migration and return, and oftentimes remigration

and return, have been an institutionalized aspect of

Caribbean societies. Specifically, Caribbean people

have utilized migration to either neighboring islands or

more distant places as "... a basic means of individual

and societal survival."6 In some Caribbean societies

this "livelihood mobility" dates back to the period

following slave emancipation (1838 in the British West

Indies) when landless peasants were lured to labor short

areas (Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Puerto Rico and

Trinidad) by promises of free passage, higher wages and

better living conditions.7 Continuing through the nine-

teenth and twentieth centuries, discernible population

movements have been evident among societies within the

Caribbean region and also between the Caribbean and

North America and Europe.8

While the general contours of intraregional

Caribbean migration are fairly well-known, specific

details, and in particular, quantitative data, are

scarce. For this and for other reasons as well,

students of Caribbean migration have focused their

attention almost entirely on the outward migratory

movements between the Caribbean and North America and

Europe, choosing either to ignore the phenomenon of


"return" or, while acknowledging its social and

psychological importance, discounting its significance

in terms of numbers.9

But migrants to the metropole and to other

societies within the region do return and this return

conveys important demographic, socioeconomic, and poli-

tical implications for the original sending society and

the migrants, themselves. Therefore, this collection of

eight papers, an outgrowth of a panel on "Return

Migration" organized for the Fifth Annual Conference of

the Caribbean Studies Association in Curacao, May 7-10,

1980, represents the first attempt to present a compre-

hensive portrait of return migration within the context

of the Caribbean region. One set of papers is expli-

citly about return migration from the metropole

societies to specific Caribbean societies. Included in

this coverage are analyses of return from the United

States to the Dominican Republic (Ugalde and Langham),

Costa Rica and San Salvador (Poitras), and Puerto Rico

(papers by Johnson and Levine) and from Holland to

Surinam (Bovenkerk). English Caribbean societies are

the focal point in the historical overviews of Ruben-

stein and Richardson. Rubenstein's focus is on return

from both metropole societies and societies within the

region while Richardson analyzes primarily intraregional

return to St. Kitts and Nevis. Samaroo's paper stands

by itself since it covers return migration of Caribbean

East Indians to India in the nineteenth and twentieth

centuries. In the above endeavors, a variety of

materials are brought to bear including archival

materials, national sample surveys and anthropological

field studies.

Like Pirandello's six characters in search of an

author, the papers provide much interesting new infor-

mation that needs to be put into an adequate framework

if it is to inform the current state of knowledge on

return migration and suggest avenues for future

research. One way of accomplishing this is to view

return migration as a process with identifiable dimen-

sions. The first dimension includes attributes of the

return flow itself including its prevalence, selectivity

and direction. More concretely, this initial dimension

relates to the specific issues of the scope of return

migration, the characteristics of the return migrants

and their destinations within the original sending

society. A second dimension revolves around the motiva-

tions for return, not merely in isolation, but as they

relate to structural and individual conditions. A final

dimension encompasses the consequences of return migra-

tion for the returnees, nonmigrants as well as the

original sending society. Our review highlights and

integrates the major findings emanating from the papers

and provides directions for future research.


The papers contained in the first section of

this volume approach the issue of the prevalence of

return migration in several ways: (1) actual volume of

return flows; (2) propensity of emigrants to return; and

(3) the demographic representations of returnees in the

populations of their islands or home communities.

Regardless of the type of data, "... in sheer

demographic terms and in relation to the number of

territories affected, return migration is an extremely

significant part of the Caribbean migration phenome-

enon."10 Rubenstein illustrates this prevalence in his

overview of prior research, whether the measure is

actual volume or demographic representation of returnees

in the populations of their islands or home communities.

Ugalde and Langham, focusing on the propensity to

return, estimate that about two out of five original

outward migrants to the United States from the Dominican

Republic returned. In a similar vein, Samaroo, in his

historical piece, notes that close to one-fourth of the

East Indians, who came under indentureship to the Carib-

bean, returned to India. Bovenkerk provides longi-

tudinal data, indicating a trend towards a declining

propensity to return from the 1950s (25 percent) to the

1970s (2 percent) in Surinam.

Who are the returnees? Like outward migration,

return migration is selective. Return migrants are


older than outward migrants and often include retirees

among their number. Samaroo reports that older East

Indians were more likely to return to India because they

wanted to die in the mother country. Although not pro-

viding specific age data, Johnson alludes to the retire-

ment phenomenon. Alternatively, Ugalde and Langham

report that rates of return to the Dominican Republic

tend to decrease with age but they attribute this to the

high rate of return among students who have completed

their studies. Poitras finds that Costa Rican return

migrants tended to be older than Salvadorean return

migrants; however, no response distributions are given

and no data are provided to assess the divergence be-

tween returnees and nonmigrants within each society.

Limited data are available on sex selection.

Ugalde and Langham find no evidence of sex selectivity

among return migrants to the Dominican Republic.

Poitras finds a higher prevalence of males among return

migrants to Costa Rica than to El Salvador.

Both Samaroo in his historical analysis of the

return of East Indians and Bovenkerk in his investiga-

tion of returnees to Surinam stress the complexity of

stream composition regarding social class. Specifical-

ly, they both point to a U-shaped pattern encompassing

both the upper and lower rungs of the class hierarchy.

Bovenkerk relates this heterogeneity to the eventual

segmentation and compartmentalized reintegration of


return migrants in the original sending society. Ugalde

and Langham, however, employing rates of return, find in

the Dominican Republic a positive relationship between

social class and the rate of return. Nevertheless,

divergencies by occupational situs within social class

categories are evident. They conclude that these

occupational differences may be due to differences in

status, opportunities and income between the original

sending and recipient society.

Both Bovenkerk and Levine suggest the presence

of temporal changes in selectivity. Bovenkerk points

to changes in political ideology (from conservative to

left wing) among return migrants between the pre- or

immediate post-World War II period returnees and the

most recent returnees in Surinam. In Puerto Rico,

Levine notes less selectivity over time in such domains

as education, income and skill levels.

There is a continued need for more systematic

data on selectivity encompassing both comparisons with

nonmigrants at original point of origin and emigrants.

Moreover, these analyses need to be placed in a specific

longitudinal framework.

The next major issue to be addressed is the

destination selection of return migrants within the

original sending society. Ugalde and Langham find the

majority of return migrants to the Dominican Republic

residing in the capital city of Santo Domingo with the


remainder evenly spread between rural and urban areas.

Furthermore, they find a close parallel between resi-

dence at departure and residence upon return. This

latter finding diverges from Taylor's (see references)

earlier study of Jamaican return migrants. Although

Jamaican return migrants tended to gravitate primarily

to urban areas as did the return migrants in the

Dominican Republic, there was a much greater tendency

for the post-return residence to be in an urban area

than either the pre-migration residence or birthplace.

Further analysis needs to link destination selection of

returnees to their pre-immigration migration patterns in

the original sending society.

To what extent is destination selection related

to specific attributes of returnees? Levine, in his

Puerto Rican analysis, finds a tendency for the unsuc-

cessful to return to their birthplace, frequently

a rural area or small town. Although this type of

destination most likely allows the unsuccessful returnee

access to primary group support networks, it does not

provide an especially viable opportunity structure for

socioeconomic mobility.

A final point in the analysis of destination

selection is the residential location of returnees

within communities. For example, Johnson alludes to the

concentration of Neoricans in residential enclaves.

Given the close parallel between residential segregation

and social segregation, further investigations should

attempt to delineate the degree of residential segrega-

tion among returnees and also to relate residential

segregation to the degree of residential segregation

among returnees and also to relate residential segrega-

tion to the degree of closure in return migrants' social


A prime problem in determining the scope and

form of return migration, aside from data deficiencies,

is the difficulty of explicitly defining what consti-

tutes return migration. Implicit in most of the papers

is a definition of return migration as movement back to

one's country of origin. Bovenkerk, in an earlier

work,11 uses a rather limiting definition of return

migration, choosing to define it as the return after

the first migration. In his paper in this volume,

Rubenstein identifies three types of return migration

based on the form and frequency of return migration to

the home community -- commuting,12 temporary migration

and recurrent migration. Of these three types, com-

muting and recurrent migration best describe intrare-

gional migration in the Caribbean while temporary

migration best describes extra-regional migration.

Further work empirically delineating the relative preva-

lence of each of these types of return migration is

sorely needed.

A specific element in the definitional problem


is the apparent expectation of return upon initial

emigration. Chaneyl3 has suggested that a distinctive

difference between today's Third World international

migrants and earlier migrants is that their migration is

intended to be temporary and not permanent. Philpottl4

in his earlier study of Montserratian emigration,

concluded that even when return is no longer a viable

alternative, migrants continue to act as if they will

return. Rubenstein, both in an earlier article15 and

in his contribution to this collection, speaks of an

ideology of return migration and details the precise

mechanisms by which migrants maintain ties with home

communities in the original sending society so as to

provide a context for return, thereby enabling an

actualization of intentions. In this respect, Poitras

in his examination of migrant interchange among Costa

Rica and El Salvador and the United States notes the

necessity of not viewing movements to the United States

and from the United States to the two sending societies

as separate events; rather, the decision to migrate ori-

ginally is linked to the decision to return so that the

return decision is not whether to return but when to


Gould and Prothero16 have argued that if there

is specific intent to return among individuals who

migrate, and that this intent is clear at initial depar-

ture, the movement should be considered circulation


rather than migration since the essential element of

permanency is missing. Goldstein,17 however, has cau-

tioned against strict reliance on intentions primarily

since there is "... no assurance that moves intended to

be temporary do not in fact become permanent, and that

many of those initially planned to be permanent ...

become temporary when disillusionment sets in because of

unachieved goals." In either event, clarification of

this matter will require analyses which are longitudinal

in scope encompassing initial intentions, length of

tenure in the recipient society, and return migration



The bulk of the studies presented in this volume

contain discussions of "reasons for return." Some of

the authors merely catalogue reasons, whereas others

provide actual response frequencies. In either case, a

myriad number of reasons is evident. Nevertheless, most

of these reasons can be distilled into a more parsimoni-

ous set of five generic domains (see Table 1). These

domains include: (1) socioeconomic maladaptation; (2)

life course transitions; (3) expiration, termination, or

violation of contractual arrangements; (4) "homeland"

linkages; and (5) societal socioeconomic situations. A

residual domain labelled "other" includes two reasons

not easily embedded within the five domains. These



Society/ (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)
Culture Socioeconomic Life Course Expiration/ "Homeland" Societal Other
Group Maladaptation Transitions Termination/ Linkages Socioeconomic
Violation of Situations
(Push) (Push) (Push) (Pull) (Push/Pull) (Push/Pull)

Puerto Rico
(Levine) 1. "Unpleasant 1. Family 1. Decreasing
life"a reunifica- demand on
2. Difficulties tion Mainland
in child 2. Discrimina-
raising tion
3. Low job
4. Health
(Johnson) 1. Retirement 1. "Illness of 1. U.S. reces-
a relative" sion
2. Spouse "left 2, Discrimination
3. Inheritance
4. "Romantic"

(Ugalde and
Langham) 1. "Way of 1. Termination 1. Deporta- 1. Family 1. Sufficient
life"b of studies tionc reunifica- savings
(19%) (20%) tionc (7%)
2. Accompany-
ing family

Table 1. Continued
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)
Costa Rica
(Poitras) 1. No job in 1. Deportation 1. Family
U.S. (1.5%) (3.2%) Reunification
2. Visa (31.5%)
Expiration 2. Homesickness
(12.4%) (ca 25%)
3. Job in home
country (15%)
El Salvador
(Poitras) 1. No job in 1. Deportation 1. Family
U.S. (2.58%) (27.4%) Reunification
2. Visa (33.2%)
(Bovenkerk) 1. Inability to 1. Completion
find employ- of studies
ment/job (33%)
2. "Marriage
3. Status
(Rubinstein) 1. Labor contact
East Indians
(Samaroo) 1. Economic 1. Family
hardship reunification
2. Religious

"drugs, language, persistent hassle of everyday life"
bInterpreted by authors to mean maladaptation.
cSuspected by authors to be part of "other category. The
"( )" response percentages

"other" category comprised 54% of responses.

domains can also be construed in terms of "push" and

"pull" dimensions impacting on the decision to return.

Data on response distributions are provided where


Socioeconomic maladaptation is inclusive of

reasons focused on economic dislocations, marriage

problems, child raising difficulties, health problems

and status deprivation. The domain generally relates to

day-to-day exigencies which impair effective functioning

and adaptation in the recipient society and, hence,

"push" people back to the homeland. Life course tran-

sitions include various career and familial transitions

such as retirement, termination of studies, marriage or

marital dissolution which "push" people towards the ori-

ginal sending society. The third domain comprises

reasons linked to the termination, expiration, or viola-

tion of a contractual arrangement. Included within this

domain are reasons such as termination of a visa or

labor contract or actual deportation. These reasons,

therefore, involve societal determinations of length and

conditions of stay; thus, return migration under these

circumstances is best thought of as compulsory rather

than voluntary. "Homeland" linkages is the fourth

domain. This domain consists of various economic,

sociological, and psychic ties which serve to "pull"

former emigrants back to the society of origin.

Specific reasons embedded within this domain are family

reunification, whether in general or for specific

reasons such as the "illness of a relative" or "claiming

an inheritance"; a job lined up in the home country;

religious shrines available for worship; or "romantic

attachment" and "homesickness."

Societal socioeconomic situations include

conditions within either the recipient or the original

sending society which "push" or "pull" the migrant. We

would expect these conditions to work themselves out

through individual and familial circumstances. Thus,

cyclical changes in the economy of the recipient or

sending society would be expected to impact on their

respective economic opportunity structures and, hence,

on individuals in such areas as job layoffs, and job


Both in the studies contained in this volume and

investigations conducted elsewhere18 noneconomic reasons

predominate. Moreover, even though economic circum-

stances may mitigate return, these circumstances tend

to be outweighed by various sociological, cultural and

psychological conditions. Furthermore, these noneco-

nomic reasons can be operant in either the host society

or the original sending society.

Specific data on the impact of socioeconomic

maladaptation following emigration on the propensity to

return is available in three studies. Bovenkerk finds

that two-thirds of his sample of Surinamese returnees

returned because they failed to adapt to the recipient

society. Ugalde and Langham note in the Dominican

Republic that one of five returnees returned due to the

"way of life" in the recipient society, which they

interpreted to mean maladaptation. It is interesting to

note, however, the prominence of noneconomic types of

maladaptation. Bovenkerk, for example, notes not only

the difficulty of finding or maintaining jobs in

Holland, but also marital problems and psychological

problems associated with status deprivation. Difficul-

ties with child raising in the United States as well as

health problems, are mentioned by Neoricans (Levine).

Moreover, Poitras notes that only a minimal proportion

of Costa Rican and San Salvadorean returnees came back

to their homeland because they were unable to secure

employment. Finally, Ugalde and Langham uncover various

correlates of maladaptation.

Of special note in the area of "homeland"

linkages is the role played by family linkages in the

homeland. In six of the seven studies containing a

discussion of reasons, some form of family linkage is

mentioned. An example of the magnitude of this factor

can be found in the Poitras study of Costa Rica and El

Salvador, wherein about one-third of returnees came home

to be reunited with their kin. In addition to family

linkages, mention is also made of psychological attach-

ment (Johnson for Neoricans and Poitras for Costa


Ricans) and religious linkages (Samaroo). Various

career transitions either at the beginning with "term-

ination of studies" (Ugalde and Langham; Bovenkerk)

or at the end with "retirement" (Johnson) also figure

prominently.19 Recognition of societal socioeconomic

situations includes not only economic demand factors but

also discrimination (Levine and Johnson). Finally, the

role of compulsory return is evident in the studies of

the Dominican Republic (Ugalde and Langham), Costa Rica

and El Salvador (Poitras) and the English Speaking

Caribbean (Rubenstein). In El Salvador alone, visa

expiration or deportation accounted for about one-half

of the reasons advanced.

A full portrait of motivations for return should

also include an analysis of why some emigrants choose to

remain in place despite socioeconomic maladaptation,

"homeland" linkages, life course transitions and poor

societal socioeconomic situations. In fact, Rubenstein

raises the question of nonreturn in the face of the

substantial strength of the return ideology. His accom-

panying set of reasons are in many ways similar to the

reasons for return already discussed. This leads one to

the conclusion that our proffered set of analytical

domains should not be interpreted as discrete but rather

as interpenetrating. Therefore, future research on

motivational determinants of both voluntary return and

nonreturn needs to go beyond the mere cataloging of

reasons and be guided by an interactive framework which

encompasses: (1) macro socioeconomic situations in the

recipient and homeland society; (2) the various econo-

mic, sociological, cultural and psychological linkages

to one's homeland; (3) the degree of adaptation in the

recipient society, not merely in some vague general way,

but in specific life spheres and the specific roles the

emigrant occupies (or fails to occupy) in those spheres;

and (4) career and familial transitions as part of

progression through one's life course. Furthermore, the

interaction among these components needs to be addressed

in a specific longitudinal context inclusive of elements

of the original sending and receiving societies, the

emigrants and the members of their social networks.


Evaluations of the consequences of return migra-

tion have been generally about one or both of two

levels, i.e., micro or macro. At the micro level, the

focus has been on the individual adaptations of return

migrants and nonmigrants to various economic, social and

political roles. At the macro level the emphasis has

been on the broader economic, social and political

structure and the role played by return migration in

overall societal change.

Richardson points to the significant prestige,

respect and admiration accorded returning migrants and

the attendant ceremonial expression accompanying return

in the Lesser Antilles. However, excepting Richardson's

finding, the other contributors (Bovenkerk, Johnson and

Samaroo) covering this subject suggest difficulties

among returnees in reintegrating into their original

sending society. Bovenkerk concludes that the returnees

become a "new minority" and suffer all of the disadvan-

tages minority status confers with none of the advan-

tages. Samaroo notes how the majority of East Indian

returnees returned to a "strange land." Johnson points

to Neoricans as "cultural pariahs" in their homeland.

Thus, a sentimental attachment to the home country does

not necessarily translate into a "successful" return for

the returnee. In fact, nostalgic attachment finds

itself in direct competition with a new frame of

reference for evaluating conditions in the original

sending society upon return and the way in which this

new frame of reference is received by nonmigrants.

What are the bases of successful versus

unsuccessful adaptations? Following Goldlust and

Richmond's20 generalized model of immigrant adaptation

we can view the adaptation of returnees as predicated

upon their migration experience, characteristics, and

situational determinants in the original sending soci-

ety. However, unlike the case of immigrants, returnees

are reentering a society where they had originally


Initially, Richardson argues that the successful

reintegration of returnees in the Lesser Antilles lies,

at root, in the functional importance of migration in

these societies. Richardson, given his holistic treat-

ment, does not, however, explore the ways in which

divergent migration experiences or migrant character-

istics articulate with aspects of the societal situation

and how these may or may not temper the prestige

accorded returning migrants. Samaroo does illustrate

how both factors associated with the migration experi-

ence and attributes (loss of caste, conversion to

Christianity, and general changes in personality, habits

and ideas) combine with situational determinants

(climate, low wages, rising cost of living as well as

general nonreceptivity) to engender adaptation dif-

ficulties. Bovenkerk, focusing on Surinam, refers to

the increasing democratization of the emigration process

and how this removed the glamour from return. Thus,

residence in the Netherlands was not necessarily status

conferring in the home society; instead, returnees had

become the targets of ridicule, stereotyping and employ-

ment discrimination. Additionally, returnees were per-

ceived as threats in the housing and labor markets and

also as transgressors (in the moral sense) for having

"turned their backs" on society by emigrating. Johnson,

likewise, depicts how the experiences of Neoricans on

the Mainland, through selective interpretation on the


part of nonmigrants, vitiate their security upon return.

Returnees are viewed as "pushy and aggressive" and

"tainted" by mainland life styles and clothing. She

further argues that the barrier of language reinforces

segmentation and isolation.

Response to imposed marginality might consist

of: (1) withdrawal (either individually or collective-

ly); (2) sociopolitical activism; or (3) remigration.

Samaroo finds evidence of both withdrawal and remigra-

tion. Specifically, some East Indian returnees eked out

a meager existence in the slums of Madras and Calcutta.

Others returned to the colonies as either reindentured

laborers or as free workers. Both Johnson and Bovenkerk

point to the tendency of returnees to withdraw and

interact within their own social circles. However,

Johnson finds strong support among Neoricans for the

Statehood Party in Puerto Rico as a way of opting for

the security of the American way of life. Bovenkerk,

however, concludes that Surinamese returnees are too

fragmented to consolidate for purposes of collective


The earlier observations of Romalis regarding

Jamaican returnees still appear relevant:

It will be interesting to see how many and
which types of discontented returned migrants
gravitate into an alienated, sterile withdrawal,
and which channel their resentment into active
attempts to transform their situation through
social and political organization.21

Future investigations will need to articulate more


clearly the conditions under which marginality results

in alienation, activism or remigration among returning


We now turn to a discussion of the implications of

return migration for the original sending society at

large. In this respect we shift the level of discussion

from a micro to a macro level, from speaking about the

consequences of return for returnees to addressing the

impact of the return migrant collectivity on the

socioeconomic and political structure of the society.

To begin, we contend that the societal level consequen-

ces of return migration are dependent upon a number of

factors including: (1) the size of the return migration

stream relative to the population base of the society;

(2) the selectivity of the return migration stream;

(3) societal receptivity; (4) the degree of solidarity

among returnees; and (5) the prevalence of remigration.

Initially, for return migration to have a more than

minimal societal impact, we argue that the size of the

return migration stream must be large relative to the

base population of the original sending society so that

returnees constitute a significant portion of that

society. Thus, Bovenkerk suggests that even if only a

small percentage of emigrants return, this could have a

notable impact if the society is small. For example,

in Surinam 30,000 returnees translates into approxima-

tely 10 percent of the population. Johnson, although

focusing on numbers returning in an absolute rather than

in a relative sense, links large numbers of returnees to

the level of statehood sentiment and election outcomes

in Puerto Rico. Other areas which could be impacted

include labor markets, consumption levels, and service

delivery systems.

Although relative size might be viewed as a

necessary condition for societal level change, it is by

no means a sufficient condition. Indeed, Bovenkerk

argues that the critical factors are qualitative rather

than quantitative. One factor in this respect is the

selectivity of the return migration stream relative to

that of the nonmigrant population which we discussed

earlier. Selectivity in the return migration stream

manifests itself not only in terms of an average level

of a given attribute but also in terms of the complexity

of the attribute's distribution. Thus, we might argue

that the greater the extent of physical and human

capital (educational level, skills level, and work

attitudes) in return migration stream the greater the

prospect for socioeconomic development, ceteris

paribus. A related issue in this respect is the use to

which physical capital is put, namely, productive as

opposed to consumption oriented investments. On the

other hand, as Bovenkerk suggests, stream complexity

militates against the development of solidarity. In

Surinam the main axes in this respect were social class

and ethnic complexity which eventually translated into a

variety of readaptation patterns within the returnee

population. In sum, there was no common basis for

collective mobilization for joint action. Only among

the young cadre of noncommissioned army officers who

engineered the recent coup d'etat in Surinam was homoge-

neity apparent.

Even with a high level of human capital, the

efforts of the collectivity of returnees might be

frustrated given a hostile reception on the part of non-

migrants. In fact, a high level of human capital in the

aggregate among returnees could militate anxieties among

nonmigrants in the constricted labor and housing markets

in Caribbean societies. That such hostility is indeed

apparent in a number of Caribbean societies, has already

been discussed. Bovenkerk presents an extensive discus-

sion of the implications of this hostility for the

social change role of returnees in Surinam. His conclu-

sions are not too encouraging. The Surinamese returnee

collectivity was characterized by high estrangement,

correspondingly high frustrations and subjection to

ridicule and employment discrimination. Given this

context, one would not anticipate returnees, as a

collectivity, to contribute notably to societal change.

Another factor of importance is the degree of soli-

darity among returnees. Bovenkerk traces the lack of

solidarity among returnees, despite the sharing of

and ethnic complexity which eventually translated into a

variety of readaptation patterns within the returnee

population. In sum, there was no common basis for

collective mobilization for joint action. Only among

the young cadre of noncommissioned army officers who

engineered the recent coup d'etat in Surinam was homoge-

neity apparent.

Even with a high level of human capital, the

efforts of the collectivity of returnees might be

frustrated given a hostile reception on the part of non-

migrants. In fact, a high level of human capital in the

aggregate among returnees could militate anxieties among

nonmigrants in the constricted labor and housing markets

in Caribbean societies. That such hostility is indeed

apparent in a number of Caribbean societies, has already

been discussed. Bovenkerk presents an extensive

discussion of the implications of this hostility for the

social change role of returnees in Surinam. His conclu-

sions are not too encouraging. The Surinamese returnee

collectivity was characterized by high estrangement,

correspondingly high frustrations and subjected to ridi-

cule and employment discrimination. Given this context,

one would not anticipate returnees, as a collectivity,

to contribute notably to societal change.

Another factor of importance is the degree of soli-

darity among returnees. Bovenkerk traces the lack of

solidarity among returnees, despite the sharing of


minority status, to the complexity of the migration

stream, the shift in stream composition over time and

the fact that earlier returnees were already occupying

the key rungs in the socioeconomic hierarchy. In the

latter regard, the outcome was intergenerational

conflict as opposed to solidarity. Johnson's conclu-

sions, however, would seem to suggest some basis for

collective action among Neoricans rooted in the common

Mainland experience.22

A final factor bearing on the issue is the preva-

lence of remigration. To the extent that a sizeable

portion of returnees are not committed to remaining and

eventually remigrate, the collective mobilization and/or

contribution of returnees to the original sending

society is mitigated. That this is a real alternative

can be seen in the fact that 45 of the original 75

respondents in Bovenkerk's sample of Surinamese

returnees had remigrated to Holland in the relatively

short period of eight years subsequent to his original

interviews. Poitras, in his analyses of Costa Rica and

San Salvador, finds in both societies that more than

one-half of returnees were fairly certain they would

return to the United States.

In summary, a full analysis of the societal level

consequences of return migration would require studying

a number of Caribbean societies with an approach focused

on the interaction among the above factors. How, for


example, is the nature, type, and intensity of societal

receptivity linked to the size and selectivity of the

migration stream? To what extent are the previously

stated relationships transmitted through actual competi-

tion for scarce resources and/or the status pretensions

associated with the overseas experience as tempered by

selective interpretations on the part of nonmigrants?

To what degree and in what way do returnees actually

become a minority? How do the size and complexity of

the return migration stream impact on returnee

solidarity? Is their impact direct or transmitted via

societal receptivity? Under what conditions does

hostile societal receptivity produce collective or a

sizeable amount of individual withdrawal among returnees

and under what conditions does it yield collective

action? Finally, how prevalent is remigration and how

does it defuse the role of the return collectivity as an

agent of social change or a force for coordinated poli-

tical action? All of these questions need to be

addressed more systematically in future investigations.



lSee, for example, the bibliographic essays of Frank
Bovenkerk, The Sociology of Return Migration (The
Hague: Martinus Nijoft, 1974); and George Gmelch,
"Return Migration," Annual Review of Anthropology 9
(1980): 135-159; as well as the compendium of studies
in Robert E. Rhoades, ed., "The Anthropology of Return
Migration," Papers in Anthropology 20:1 (Spring 1979).

2For more detailed discussions of the emergence of this
reversal in postindustrial societies, its underpin-
nings and implications, see the collection of articles
in David L. Brown, and John M. Wardwell, editors, New
Directions in Urban-Rural Migration: The Population
Turnaround in Rural America (New York: Academic
Press, 1980). For specific treatments of return
migration within the context of this turnaround see
R. R. Campbell, D. M. Johnson, and Gary J. Stangler,
"Return Migration of Black People to the South," Rural
Sociology 39 (1974): 514-528; Daniel Johnson,
"Community Satisfaction of Black Return Migration to a
Southern Metropolis," American Journal of Community
Psychology 3:3 (1975): 251-259; Larry Long and Kristin
A. Hansen, "Trends in Return Migration to the South,"
Demography 12 (1975): 601-614; and Edwin H. Carpenter,
"Metropolitan Migrants to Nonmetropolitan Migrants in
the United States: Are They Being Retained?" in Robert
E. Rhoades (ed.) "The Anthropology of Return Migra-
tion," Papers in Anthropology 20:1 (Spring 1979):
145-154. For specific examples of empirical research
on internal return migration within a postindustrial
society grounded in a specific theoretical formulation
see Julie DaVanzo, "Differences between Return and
Nonreturn Migration: An Econometric Analysis,"
International Migration Review 10:1 (Spring, 1976):
12-27; and Julie DaVanzo and Peter A. Morrison,
"Return and Other Sequences of Migration in the United
States," Demography 18:1 (1981): 85-101.

3See, for example the reviews in Nancy B. Graves and
Theodore D. Graves, "Adaptive Strategies in Urban
Migration," in Bernard J. Siegel (ed.) Annual Review
of Anthropology, vol. 3 (Palo Alto, California: Annual
Review, 1974), pp. 117-151; Sidney Goldstein, Circu-
lation in the Context of Total Mobility in Southeast
Asia (Papers of the East-West Population Institute,
no. 53, August 1978); and Sally Findlay, Planning for
Internal Migration: A Review of Issues and Policies
in Developing Societies (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Bureau
of the Census, ISP-RD-4, 1974).

4Recent coverage of this type of study conducted out-
side the Caribbean region is presented in the over-

view of George Gmelch, "Return Migration," Annual
Review of Anthropology, vol. 9 (1980): 135-159; and a
specific sampling can be found in Robert E. Rhoades,
ed., "The Anthropology of Return Migration," Papers in
Anthropology, vol. 20, no. 1, (Spring 1979).

5See recent discussions in Stuart B. Philpott, "West
Indian Migration: The Monserrat Case." London School a
of Economics Monographs on Social Anthropology, no. 47
(London: Athlone Press, 1973), pp. 108-111; Edward
Taylor, "The Social Adjustment of Returned Migrants to
Jamaica," in Ethnicity in the Americas, ed. F. Henry
(The Hague: Mouton, 1976); Nancy Foner, Jamaica
Farewell: Jamaican Migrants in London (Berkeley,
California: University of California Press, 1978),
pp. 234-236; Orlando Patterson, "Migration in
Caribbean Societies: Socioeconomic and Symbolic
Resource," in Human Migration: Patterns and Policies,
eds. William H. McNeill and Ruth S. Adams
(Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press,
1978), p. 122; Hymie Rubenstein, "The Return ideology
in West Indian Migration," in The Anthropology of
Return Migration: Papers in Anthropology, ed. Robert
E. Rhoades 20:1 (Spring 1979) (Norman, Oklahoma:
Department of Anthropology, University of Oklahoma)
pp. 21-38; and Antonio Ugalde, Frank D. Bean, and
Gilbert Cardenas, "International Migration from the
Dominican Republic: Findings from a National Survey,"
International Migration Review, 13 (Summer 1979):

60rlando Patterson, p. 106.

7See Roy Augier, S. C. Gordon, Douglas Hall, and Mary
Record, The Making of the West Indies (London:
Longmans, 1960); Michael Garfield Smith, Kinship and
Community in Carriacou (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale
University Press, 1962); and Julia G. Crane, Educated
to Emigrate: The Social Organization of Saba (Assen,
The Netherlands: Van Gorcum, 1971).

8See Malcolm J. Proudfoot, Population Movements in the
Caribbean (Port-of-Spain, Trinidad: Caribbean Commis-
sion Central Secratarist, 1950); Sheila Patterson,
Dark Strangers: A Sociological Study of the Absorption
of a Recent West Indian Migrant Group in Brixton,
South London (London: Tavistock Publications, 1963);
Orlando Patterson, op. cit.; R. B. Davison, Black
British: Immigrants to England (London: Oxford Univer-
sity Press, 1966); Ceri Peach, West Indian Migration
to Britain: A Social Geography (London: Oxford
University Press, 1968); David Lowenthal, West Indian
Societies (London: Oxford University Press, 1972); Roy
S. Bryce-Laporte and Delores M. Mortimer, eds.


Caribbean Immigration to the United States. RIIES
Occasional Papers No. 1 (Washington D.C.: Smithsonian
Institution, Research Institute on Immigration and
Ethnic Studies, 1976); H. E. Lamur and J. D.
Speckmann, editors, Adaptation of Migrants from the
Caribbean in the European and American Metropolis
(Leiden, The Netherlands: CARAF, 1978); and Robert A.
* Myers, "Emigration's Impact: A Review of the
Literature for the British and Dutch Islands, with
Special Attention to Dominica, W.I." Paper presented
at Fourth Annual Meeting of the Caribbean Studies
Association, May 28, 1979, at Fort-de-France,

9Some of the reasons advanced for the imbalanced focus
on the Caribbean-North American/Europe flow include:
(1) Intraregional migration in the Caribbean currently
is of much smaller magnitude than the migration from
the Caribbean to North America and Europe, (2) the
metropolitan orientation of many students of Caribbean
migration has led them to discount the significance
and importance of intraregional migration. Ugalde, et
al., pp. 235-263 have suggested that the relative
neglect of return migration is due to the tendency to
view migration as an irreversible flow as well as
practical problems associated with locating returnees
given their geographical dispersion. Rubenstein in
this volume points additionally to the rural to urban
concentration in migration research, static theoreti-
cal models, the brevity of the fieldwork period, and
deficient governmental return migration statistics.

10See Hymie Rubenstein, this volume.

11See Bovenkerk.

12See also J. P. Fitzpatrick, Puerto Rican Americans:
The Meaning of Migration to the Mainland (Englewood
Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1971).

13Elsa M. Chaney, "The World Economy and Contemporary
Migration," International Migration Review 13:1
(Summer 1979):204-212.



16W.T.S. Gould and R. Mansell Prothero, "Space and
Time in African Population," in People on the Move,
eds. Leszek Kosinksi and R. Mansell Prothero (London:
Methuen and Company, 1975), pp. 39-49.

17Goldstein, p. 13.


18See Gmelch, p. 129.

19Since emigrants on student visas may be obliged to
leave after completion of studies this type of return
may not necessarily be a voluntary return.

20See John Goldlust and Anthony H. Richmond, "A Multi-
variate Model of Immigrant Adaptation," International
Migration Review 3:2 (1974): 196 ff.

21Coleman Romalis, "Some Comments on Race and Ethnicity
in the Caribbean," in Ethnicity in the Americas, ed.
Francis Henry (The Hague/Paris: Mouton Publishers,
1976), p. 421.

22She is, however, quick to point out that the experien-
tial differences between returnees and nonmigrants are
differences of degree rather than kind.

Part I

Papers on Return Migration



Hymie Rubenstein

Wage-labor migration and other forms of physical

mobility have always been distinctive features of West

Indian societies. The prehistoric movements of various

groups of native peoples, European invasion and coloni-

zation, the forced migration of several million African

slaves, the postemancipation immigration of indentured

agricultural workers from various parts of the globe,

and more contemporary regional and international popula-

tion shifts are all part of the constant human flux in

the area, testimony to the fact that migration is an

integral Caribbean phenomenon.

Of all movements since Emancipation in 1838, the

migration of English-speaking West Indians to Britain

during the 1950s and early 1960s and to the United

States and Canada starting from the 1960s has received

scholarly attention. This is largely because these

migratory flows represented the largest net removal to

have ever taken place from the former British West

Indies. By 1966, for example, there were some 330,000

native West Indians in Britain, exceeding by a con-

siderable margin the previous highest movement to

Central America and the United States between 1881 and

1924.1 The majority of these immigrants and their

overseas-born offspring are now long-term residents in

their new homelands. Although many of the native-born

West Indians may continue to view return to their

countries of origin as at least a distant goal, except

for the occasional short visit home, few have yet chosen

to act on this goal. Indeed there is reason to suspect

that permanent removal may well be the outcome of these

most recent migration streams despite the operation of

the return intention.2 For example, estimates that

although most Montserratians in London view migration as

"a temporary phase," no more than 20 percent may ever

return to the island to resume permanent residence. The

high rate of contemporary permanent removal is only one

of several reasons that most studies of migrants (as

well as the families and countries they have left

behind) have tended to ignore the issue of return migra-

tion. Other reasons for this neglect are: (1) the sheer

scope of West Indian urbanization since Emancipation has

led to unidirectional, rural-to-urban focus in migration

studies; (2) the nature of the theoretical models, espe-

cially structural-functionalism, used in Caribbean

research has resulted in the exclusion of the study of

all sorts of dynamic processes such as various sorts of

extra-community movements; (3) the length of the field-

work period -- generally no more than one year -- has

resulted in migration being viewed as a static, one-way

movement; and (4) the difficulty in collecting national

return migration statistics, given the tendency of

governments to be concerned only with the exit of citi-

zens and the entry of aliens, has masked the extent of

the homeward flow of migrants.

As a result, most migration studies have focused

on the newcomer in the host society. In addition to a

large body of literature devoted to race relations,

there are studies of migrant social organization, ethnic

identity, religious behavior, social integration, and

physical and emotional well-being.

In recent years, however, there has been a

shift in research direction from a preoccupation with

the migrant in the receiving society to a study of the

consequences of the overseas removal of people for the

home society. While only a couple of these studies

deserve careful attention, they still provide some

information on the effects of emigration on such sending

unit phenomena as demographic composition,3 local-level

and national development,4 social differentiation,5 and

nonmigrant social and economic well-being.6

Yet, although a handful of studies are beginning

to ask what happens to West Indian societies when so

many people leave, hardly any effort has been made to

find out what happens when migrants return. For the

reasons already stated, this is not unexpected. For

other reasons, however, this omission does come as

something of a surprise. First, various forms of tem-

porary exodus have characterized the greater part of

West Indian emigration.7 Second, a study of the

homeward flow of migrants allows research in the kind of

bounded, face-to-face rural locale traditionally favored

by anthropologists as opposed to the open, complex,

urban metropolis favored by contemporary migrants, but

one which produces difficulties in regards to informant

statistical representativeness8 and the collection of

ethnographic material using participant observation.

Third, although most migrants in England and North

America may never resettle in their native lands, a

significant minority do participate in a counter move-

ment home.9

The Caribbean is far from the only region in

which return migration has not been adequately treated.

Either in a theoretical way or in relation to particular

geographical areas numerous researchers have pointed out

that return migration has not received its due in migra-

tion research.10

Although interest in it has been overwhelmed by

the more dramatic and demographically significant exodus

of people, this is not to say that the homeward flow of

migrants has gone totally unnoticed. In fact, the open-

ing statement in Bovenkerk'sll recent survey of return

migration clearly applies to the West Indian literature

taken as a whole:

It is customary for the author on return
migration to complain about the lack of
theoretical and empirical knowledge on his
subject ... It is true that not so many books
and articles are devoted exclusively to return
migration ... But this does not imply that no
further research has been done and that there-
fore every new student of return migration had
(sic) to begin from scratch. In numerous
studies on emigration, migrant labor, immigra-
tion, integration, and assimilation, room has
been made for a chapter or a paragraph on
"those who returned" or "the migrants's

Thus, in the Caribbean literature there is to be found

the occasional brief discussion of or passing reference

to such topics as the "push" and "pull" factors encour-

aging the return of migrants,12 the disposition of

migration earnings and the effects of the migratory

experience on the social position and economic well-

being of the returnee,13 the expectation of return and

the continuing involvement with or sentiment towards the

home area,14 the effects of return migration and remit-

tances on economic development and social change,15

residential choice among those who return,16 and the

consequences of the return of migrants for family and

household organization.17

What is lacking in the individual studies is

the kind of detailed, synthetic treatment of the

multiple features of return migration that can only be

obtained through a systematic investigation of the

topic within and between particular Caribbean socie-

ties. While such an undertaking is well beyond the

scope of a short paper, I wish to discuss three of the

many issues that need to be addressed if such a study

is to be carried out. These are: (1) types of return

migration; (2) extent of return migration; and

(3) ideology of return migration. Each is dealt with

in comparative terms rather than in relation to any

particular Caribbean locale. This may help counter-

balance the piecemeal way in which return migration

(and, for that matter, the entire topic of migration)

has been treated so far. No effort has been made to

compare the findings from different migrant popula-

tions so as to distinguish the general from the unique

in the West Indian migratory process.


The nature and scope of return migration in the

English-speaking Caribbean is dependent upon the forms

that the migratory process takes. Based on the form and

frequency of return to the home community, three general

Caribbean migration movements may be identified -- com-

muting, temporary migration, and recurrent migration.

In turn, each may be divided into two varieties based on

the seasonality of the removal. More than one type may

be present simultaneously in a given community and may

even characterize, in sequential terms, the experience

of individual migrants. In each case the period of

return may be either well defined, as in a prearranged

visit of a few days or weeks, or it may involve per-

manent resettlement, as in the case of retirement, or it

may consist of an indeterminate but emically defined

temporary layover.

1. Commuting. Given the strong social and emotional

ties to the home community, the intention to some day

resettle in their homelands, the predominance of econo-

mic motives for emigrating, the periodic or frequent

return visits, the term "commuting" could probably be

used to describe many persons who are usually labelled

"migrants."18 For the purpose of this paper, however, I

reserve "commuting" for a form of physical mobility in

which participants leave their home communities on a

wage-labor or self-employed basis for short periods of

time ranging between overnight and a week or two.

Commuters retain their primary residence and the bulk of

their personal and household possessions in their home

communities. At the same time, I distinguish between

the persons I have in mind here and the better-known

type of commuter who leaves the home area only during

the work period itself, an interval which often lasts no

more than a few hours.19 This is because the latter

movement does not involve duality of residence and the

concomitant social and economic arrangements charac-

terizing what is normally considered true migration.

Commuting may take place on a seasonal or non-

seasonal basis. Solien de Gonzalez's20 description of

seasonal migration generally fits much of the Caribbean


Seasonal migrants are those who travel once a
year, either as completed or partial families
or as single adult individuals, to areas in
which great numbers of workers are needed
temporarily in such occupations as harveting
or processing of raw food items.

Commuting occurs where either the source of

agricultural and related forms of wage labor does not

involve great travel distances or where there are inade-

quate accommodations for the migrant worker at the place

of employment.

2. Temporary Migration. This type of migration usually

occurs during young adulthood and consists mainly of one

or more wage-labor expeditions ranging from a few months

to ten or more years followed by permanent resettlement

in the home community.21 Generally involving unmarried

males, it may also include females as well as married

men of up to middle age. Migratory periods may be

separated by lengthy intervals at home where traditional

economic activities are carried out. Even if the

migrant does not return for several years, involvement

with and commitment to the sending unit are usually


Where temporary migration is on a seasonal

basis, the first experience often consists of young

unmarried males employed as seasonal agricultural

laborers for several months at a time some distance from

their home community.

3. Recurrent Migration.22 This type of movement has

often been identified in the migration literature and

has been referred to variously as "circulation,"

"cyclical migration," "circular migration," "temporary,

recurrent migration," as well as "recurrent migration."

Douglass refers to the participant in this type of

movement as a "bird of passage" to emphasize the repeti-

tiveness of the migratory process.

While some varieties of temporary migration

share the oscillatory character of recurrent migration

(e.g., repeated seasonal migration during young adult-

hood) they differ from the latter in the extent to which

the original movement is repeated over and over so as to

become a permanent fixture in the economic lives of its

participants. No longer involving mainly young single

males, migrants now consist of mature married men who

leave their dependents behind, often for long periods of

time. Contacts with and an orientation towards the home

area are nevertheless maintained.23

Recurrent migration may be either seasonal or

nonseasonal. In the former, adults, particularly, but

not exclusively males, make repeated trips of several

months each from their homes to areas of seasonal wage

work, a practice which continues throughout their pro-

ductive lives. Although the period of employment is

defined by the regular but seasonal occurrence of some

resource (agriculture, tourism, food processing, etc.)

this does not mean that all migrants will participate in

it on an annual basis. A decrease in labor needs in the

region of employment or the presence of more remunera-

tive nonseasonal alternatives will affect the cyclical

nature of employment.

In nonseasonal, recurrent migration, adults,

again mainly males, are involved in a pattern of

repeated to and fro movements from the home area to the

same or different places of employment throughout their

working careers. The migrant may return at frequent

intervals, or remain away for several years without

revisiting. Return trips, as in the case of temporary

migration, may consist of short visits of only a few

days or weeks or they may involve indefinite periods of

inactivity or engagement in traditional community econo-

mic endeavors.


Commuting, temporary migration, and recurrent

migration have all played a role in the migratory move-

ments of West Indians.

Less reported on than the other two movements,

presumably because it is not as dramatic a residential

shift and because its socio-economic consequences appear

to be far less significant, commuting, as defined here,

occurs throughout the region. A few examples are the

regular weekend visits home of seasonal agricultural

laborers, the two to three day sales circuits of itin-

erant dry goods peddlers and food vendors, the trips

home on days off of domestic servants employed in urban

areas, and the weekly traveling of carpenters, masons,

and other construction workers between their home com-

munities and scattered building sites.

The more conspicuous forms of mobility, tempo-

rary and recurrent wage-labor migration, also have been

pervasive features of West Indian social and economic

history since the abolition of slavery. Taking place on

both a seasonal and nonseasonal basis they have involved

internal, regional, and circum-Caribbean destinations.

To begin with, the internal migration of season-

al cane cutters in Guyana, Jamaica, and Martinique has

been an important form of voluntary mobility since 1838.

R. T. Smith,24 for example, found that out of a total

adult male population (those over 18) of 151 in one of

the Guyanese villages he studied in the early 1950s,

90-100 men regularly spent the cane cutting season in

distant Demeraran sugar estates.

Regional and circum-Caribbean migration also

began immediately after emancipation. Large numbers of

ex-slaves from Barbados, St. Vincent, Grenada, and even

such Leeward Islands as Montserrat25 moved to labor

starved Trinidad and Guyana to take advantage of higher

agricultural wages and better working conditions.26

Undoubtedly much of this resulted in permanent removal

although Hill27 argues that in the case of Carriacou:

... much of this was seasonal and some Carria-
couans returned to their homeland with money
not locally available.

Crane28 also refers to the six month periods of

seasonal migration of cane cutters from St. Maarten and

from Saba after 1848 and 1863, respectively, to the

Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.

Similarly, it is likely that at least some of

the several thousand Jamaicans and other islanders who

migrated to Panama from 1853 as railway construction

workers29 eventually returned home.

Overpopulation, limited employment prospects,

and inadequate wages accelerated such movements and from

the 1860s Jamaicans, Barbadians and other islanders

migrated to Central America to work on coffee, sugar,

and banana plantations.30 The movement of agricultural

laborers to Honduras, Guatemala, and Costa Rica contin-

ued into the 1880s when Nicaragua, Cuba, and Colombia

appear to have joined the Latin American list of destin-

ations.31 Removal to these areas, while never on a

tremendous scale, and nearly coming to a halt in the

last decade of the nineteenth century, only ceased with

the coming of the depression in the early 1930s when

restrictive immigration regulations were put in

place.32 The extent of return from these countries is

difficult to ascertain although between 1928 and 1934

Jamaica experienced a net inflow of 28,000 persons, most

of them returnees from Latin America.33 Proudfoot34

also argues that migrant workers were being expelled

during the Depression.

Less well-known movements resulting in return

migration also occurred during the last third of the

nineteenth century. In Andros Island, Bahamas, males

were involved in recurrent sponge fishing expeditions of

several weeks or months at a time interrupted by short

visits home.35 Far to the south in former British

Guiana, the beginning of gold and diamond mining from

around 1880 attracted many men from coastal villages who

made regular extended trips to the interior mining

areas.36 Gonzales37 also reports on various types of

temporary and recurrent migration both seasonal and non-

seasonal among the coastal dwelling black Caribs of

Honduras and Belize. Since 1980 almost all Carib men

have been employed in some type of wage labor, often

close to their villages. The most important labor

outlets have included dock work, ship loading, and wood-

cutting. Up to 1930 the following pattern existed:38

The money earned through these jobs brought
many items which early became necessities
rather than luxuries. Still, the money
received was not sufficient to support their
families completely. Therefore they continued
to fish and to help with cultivation, even
though wage labor gradually came to be their
dominant work. But fishing and cultivation
were still thought of as essential, as they
actually were under the circumstances. For
this reason, a Carib man had to be in a posi-
tion to return to his home from time to time
when his presence was demanded.

A little-known movement is also reported by

Dirks39 who refers to what appears to be extensive

temporary and recurrent migration of over 100 years

standing from Tortola, B.V.I., to the more prosperous

American Virgin Islands.

The largest movement during the last two decades

of the nineteenth century occurred between 1884 and 1888

when large numbers of West Indian construction workers

were involved in the first effort to build the Panama

Canal.40 Foner41 tells us that over 84,000 Jamaicans

alone were employed in the unsuccessful project. Large

scale counter migration characterized not only the

abandonment of the project but the intervening years

as well. For example, although over 24,000 Jamaicans

migrated during the 1883-1884 construction season,

nearly 12,000 workers returned during the same period.42

When the project was aborted in 1888, only 6,000

migrants were not repatriated.

The rebirth of the canal project in 1905 again

witnessed the involvement of thousands of workers.

Although Jamaica once more headed the list, 43 islanders

from all parts of the Caribbean including Vincentians,44

Nevisians,45 Montserratians,46 and Carriacouans47 were

employed as construction laborers. According to


From 1905 till 1913 there was a constant
number working in Panama of 35,000, most of
whom were employed on a temporary basis. As
one batch of workers returned to their home
islands, a new group would come in.

Many of those who did not return after the completion of

the Canal were deported during the depression,49

although repatriation to Jamaica was still taking place

up to 1945.50

The first decade of the twentieth century also

saw the resumption of migration to Cuba of seasonal cane

cutters, especially Jamaicans. This movement continued

until 1925 when the flow began to reverse in ever

increasing rates.51

Migration of banana plantation workers to Costa

Rica52 also occurred during the early years of the cen-

tury. Like other migrant agricultural workers in the

Hispanic Caribbean and Central America, they were

obliged to return to their homelands during the 1930s.

Perhaps the largest migratory movement during

the first quarter of the century was the removal of

thousands of West Indians to the United States between

1900 and the passage of exclusionary immigration regula-

tions in 1924.53 Between 1911 and 1921 alone, 30,000

Jamaicans migrated to the United States.54 Although

most of these migrants settled permanently in north-

eastern cities a substantial number are known to have

returned to the region.55

Interisland migration of seasonally employed

cane cutters continued throughout the 1920s and 1930s

with laborers from Nevis, Anguilla, the Grenadines, and

Montserrat being recruited for work in St. Kitts,

Trinidad, and the Dominican Republic.56

An especially important removal resulted from

the development of oil fields in Venezuela in 1916 and

provided employment for several thousand British West

Indians, particularly Trinidadians and Barbadians, until

a prohibition on the entry of "foreign-born Negroes" was

enacted in 1929.57 Migration to Venezuela foreshadowed

the even more significant movement of oil refinery and

industrial workers to Trinidad and Curaao from 1915 and

1916, respectively, and to Aruba from 1925.58 Large-

scale migration to these areas from the entire Eastern

Caribbean continued throughout the 1920s, 30s and 40s.59

All workers in Curacao and Aruba, including those from

the English-speaking Windward Netherlands Antilles, were

hired on a temporary basis and large-scale layoffs and

early retirement sent thousands back to their home

islands during the early 1950s.60

Of all the migratory movements during this cen-

tury the best-known and most intensively studied one has

been, of course, the mass migration to Great Britain

beginning in the early 1950s.61 Sparked by an initial

shortage of unskilled workers in vocational areas which

gave promise of long-term employment prospects, the

movement nonetheless has been far from unidirectional.62

It is estimated that while a total of 86,000 Jamaicans

departed for England between 1956 and 1959, 11,600

returned home during the same period.63 Similarly, be-

tween 1965 and 1968 -- a period of very little migration

from Jamaica to England -- some 52,000 Jamaicans left

for home.64

The most recent example of large-scale physical

mobility, removal to the United States and Canada from

the early 1960s, has also resulted in at least some

return migration. For example, West Indians holding

student visas in Canada are constrained from working

during their residence and most are obliged to leave

after their studies are completed.

The importance of return migration in the

English-speaking Caribbean may also be judged by its

scope in particular communities.

R. T. Smith65 tells us that in two of the com-

munities he studied in Guyana "... probably most of the

older men have worked in the interior of the colony at

some time or other." Concerning the tiny island of

Providencia, Wilson66 states that "... most men leave

the island during early manhood ..." In the community

he studied in Andros Island, Otterbein67 found that 42

percent of the adult male population spends most of its

time away from the island and that two-thirds of the men

have engaged in at least one period of seasonal agricul-

tural labor in the United States. Similarly, Betley68

found that 42 percent of the 630 household heads in a

Vincentian village he studied were returned migrants.

The obvious conclusion from all this evidence is

that in sheer demographic terms and in relation to the

number of territories affected, return migration is an

extremely significant part of the Caribbean migration

phenomenon. But return migration has far more than just

population or geographical referents. As a long-

standing institutionalized aspect of the region's popu-

lation mobility, it also has important economic, social,

and cultural implications.


Some of these implications are readily seen when

account is taken of what I have called elsewhere the

"return ideology" in West Indian migration.69 This

ideology consists of a set of beliefs and values forming

one part of what Philpott70 has termed the "migrant

ideology," "...the cognitive model which the migrant

holds as to the nature and goals of his migration."

This migrant ideology is a feature of the institutiona-

lization which normally takes place when some usage

becomes a persistent multi-generational phenomenon. The

return sentiment as an aspect of this ideology includes,

among other things, ideas about the proposed length of

the migration period, especially that it will be less

than lifelong. Migration conceived as a temporary phe-

nomenon is undoubtedly a notion which largely originated

from the nature of the migration outlets and associated

employment opportunities which were available before the

opening up of England.

Several studies report the presence of a return

ideology among West Indian migrants. In her book, Dark

Strangers71 Sheila Patterson argues that:

.. apart from some earlier arrivals, most
West Indians are still migratory in intention.
All their efforts and hopes are directed
towards accumulating sufficient capital or
acquiring a new skill so that they may return
to a future in the West Indies.

In a study of immigrant absorption among tran-

sit workers in London, nearly all of whom were from the

West Indies, Brookes72 found that 44 percent originally

had intended to remain in Britain for up to five years,

37 percent had had no specific time for returning in

mind, and only 4 percent stated that they wished to

settle in England permanently. The need to distinguish

between migrant motivation and the causes and reality of

the migration process73 is highlighted by the fact that

81 percent of the sample had already been in England for

at least five years. Brookes74 also found that although

65 percent of the sample now had no definite idea about

when they wished to return to the West Indies, only 7

percent had no plans to return at all.

Comparable findings are also present in other

studies conducted by Rex and Moore75 and R. B.

Davison.76 Each of these studies took place between the

late 1950s and mid-1960s, i.e., within a few years of

removal to England. More recent work in the early 1970s

conducted by Foner77 and by Midgett78 show no signifi-

cant lessening of the return intention.

The return intention is not confined to West

Indian migrants in England. Crane79 tells us that

returning to retire on Saba has always been a definite

goal of many migrants while Hill80 argues that the

general content of the migrant ideology among Car-

riacouans in New York corresponds to that found by

Philpott81 among London-based Montserratians. Sutton

and Makieskvy82 also report that most West Indians in

New York intend ultimately to return to their home


If the return ideology is as strong as the

literature suggests then why have more contemporary

migrants not transformed their desire to return into

reality? Although there is no simple answer to cover all

cases, economic considerations of various sorts act to

discourage many would-be returnees. As R. B. Davison83

has stated:

Coloured immigrants in Britain have moved in
response to economic, rather than political,
forces and the way they view an eventual
return to their homeland will depend on their
view of the future economic circumstances
there. Their assessment of the possibilities
of securing the financial means to return is
another important factor, as is their expec-
tation of the future for themselves, and
their families, in Britain.

Thus, uncertain economic conditions in the home society,

especially a lack of jobs,84 a reluctance to go back to

former activities such as peasant cultivation with their

low rates of economic return and prestige, the pos-

session of skills acquired abroad for which there is

no market in the West Indies,85 the failure to achieve

financial or occupational success,86 greater overseas

occupational opportunities and security of job tenure,87

and a desire to see their children complete their

education abroad88 all constrain the homeward flow of


While the importance of economic conditions

seems clear enough, occasionally the intention to return

may be simply a case of what Kenney89 has called

"institutionalized nostalgia" or what Connell et al.90

have labelled the "myth of return." As R. B. Davison91


Distance lends enchantment and to ask a
Jamaican in the middle of an English winter
whether or not he would like to return to
Jamaica would be the most futile enquiry ima-

Similarly, Foner92 suggests that:

Some migrants react to their failure to gain
full acceptance in English society by defining
their stay in England as a temporary one.

In other words, an orientation towards the home society

to some extent acts to reduce the social and psychologi-

cal impact of racism and other disappointing features of

life in England.

But even where the wish to return is an empty

dream or a rationalization for failure, as long as

migrants continue to act as if they will eventually

return to their homelands, there will be significant

consequences for both the migrant and the sending

society.93 Elsewhere,94 I have argued in relation to a

peasant village in St. Vincent that the mere desire to

return as distinct from actual physical return has had

the following effects: (1) affiliation among village

peers in the host society; (2) a preference for marriage

to fellow islanders; (3) a social and sentimental

involvement with the home community and the household

from which migration took place; (4) the support of the

migration of close kin and friends; (5) the remitting of

money to relatives back home; and (6) the overseas

purchase of village housing and other property. In

turn, the continuing home commitment of the migrant,

particularly the meeting of remittance obligations, and

the acquisition of property and other symbols of

prosperity, have significantly affected both the lives

of nonmigrants and prospects for local economic develop-

ment. Although remittances have enhanced the style of

life and material well-being of many of its recipients,

they have adversely affected village agricultural pro-

ductivity while perpetuating the emigration aspiration

among the young, an ambition that few may be able to


While the literature suggests that many of these

effects occur elsewhere in the region,95 a systematic

review of the available material combined with an in-

depth treatment of return migration in a particular

Caribbean society are needed to precisely document these

and other concomitants of the counterstream flow of



In this paper I have discussed three central

topics in the study of return migration in the English-

speaking Caribbean. A typology was necessary in order

to have some means of classifying the different homeward

movements that have occurred in the region for over a

century and a half. On the one hand, some rather simple

categorization system is needed to facilitate the

systematic description of the migration pattern within a

particular territory or community; on the other, the

comparative analysis of intraregional return movements

-- the next stage in the study of the phenomenon --

requires a standard classificatory framework to illumi-

nate similarities and differences.

The extent of return migration is another basic

topic that has to be considered in any study (whether

particularistic or comparative) of return migration.

While the scope of any social process demands documen-

tation in order to show that it is not a trivial or

unique phenomenon, and hence unworthy of intense

investigation, this is doubly true of return migration.

In order to counter the traditional idea of a one-way

movement from rural areas to urban centers or from less-

developed countries to regions promising higher stand-

ards of living, it needs to be shown that the homeward

flow of migrants is a demographically and historically

significant process.

The ideology of return migration is a third

feature of the process that deserves careful treatment.

Not only does the intention or desire to return home one

day motivate the homeward movement of many migrants, the

very idea of eventually going back (even where this is

mere nostalgia or a justification for an unpleasant

migration experience) has several important social and

economic consequences among migrants and nonmigrants


There are several other rather obvious candi-

idates for a list of topics that ought to be dealt with

in a full study (either in a particular society or in

wider comparative terms) of return migration. These

include the following:

(1) factors effecting the return of migrants
(objective factors causing the return; personal
motives and rationalizations for returning; push
vs. pull factors and their relative impact on the
decision to return; successful vs. unsuccessful
returnees; reasons for not returning);

(2) characteristics of returnees (sex, age, mari-
tal status, education, occupation, class, years of
absence; comparison of returnees to nonreturnees
and to nonmigrants);

(3) implications of returning for the existing
society (immigration policies and services; ethnic
and racial attitudes and practices; push and pull
factors effecting the decision of the migrant;

labor needs and shortages; shifting sources of
migrant workers);

(4) impact of the return of migrants on the origi-
nal sending society and community (implications for
economic development; introduction of new skills
and innovative behavior/ideas; investment of migra-
tion earnings; effects on pre-existing social orga-
nization and ideology; demographic and social
service impact of large-scale return movements);

(5) effects of return on the returnee (readjust-
ment and adaptation problems; social mobility and
economic well being; retirement; the decision to

What is required is a systematic investigation

of these and other features of the homeward movement of

West Indian migrants. Although logically research

should begin with a detailed ethnographic account of

return migration within a particular Caribbean society

in order to present a well-rounded and integrated pic-

ture of its empirical elements, from the point of view

of generalization and theory-building, the incorporation

of regional and extra-Caribbean comparative material

would seem to be essential. Such a study should receive

high priority in Caribbean ethnology.


1Ceri Peach, West Indian Migration to Britain: A Social
Geography (London: Oxford University Press, 1968),
p. 1.

2See for example, Dennis Brookes, "Who Will Go Back?"
Race Today 1:5 (1969): 164; Nancy Foner, Jamaican
Migrants in London (Berkeley: University of
California Press, 1978), p. 212; Stuart B. Philpott,
West Indian Migration: The Montserrat Case. London
School of Economics Monographs on Social Anthropology
No. 47. (London: The Athlone Press, 1973), p. 178.

3Julia G. Crane, Educated to Emigrate: The Social
Organization of Saba (Assen, The Netherlands: Van
Gorcum, 1971); Donald R. Hill, "The Impact of
Migration on the Metropolitan and Folk Society of
Carriacou, Grenada," Anthropological Papers of the
American Museum of Natural History 54, Part 2
(1977):189-392; Keith F. Otterbein, The Andros
Islanders: A Study of Family Organization in the
Bahamas (Lawrence, Kansas: University of Kansas Press,
1966); Philpott (1973).

4Richard Frucht, "Emigration, Remittances and Social
Change: Aspects of the Social Field of Nevis, West
Indies," Anthropologica (N.S.) 10:2 (1968), 193-208;
Philpott (1973).

5Brian J. Betley, "Stratification and Strategies: A
Study of Adaptation and Mobility in a Vincentian
Town." Ph.D. dissertation, Anthropology Department,
University of California at Los Angeles, 1976;
Brookes; Crane; Betty Davison, "No Place Back Home: A
Study of Jamaicans Returning to Kingston, Jamaica,"
Race 9:4 (1968): 499-509; Frucht; Hill; Philpott
(1973); Peter J. Wilson, Crab Antics: The Social
Anthropology of English-Speaking Negro Societies of
the Caribbean (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University
Press, 1973).

6Crane; Frucht, Philpott (1973).

7Malcolm J. Proudfoot, Population Movements in the
Caribbean (Port of Spain, Trinidad: Caribbean
Commission Central Secretariat, 1950).

8Brookes, pp. 133-134; Foner, pp. 14-15; S. Patterson,
pp. 26-28.

9R. B. Davison, Black Britishi Immigrants to
England (London: Oxford University Press, 1966), pp.
2-3; S. Patterson, pp. 44-45; Peach, pp. 49-50.

10J. M. M. Van Amersfoort, "Migrant Workers, Circular
Migration and Development," Tijdschrift voor
Economische en Sociale Geografie 69(1/2) (1978): 18;
R. T. Appleyard, "Determinants of Return Migration --
A Socio-Economic Study of United Kingdom Migrants Who
Returned from Australia," The Economic Record 38:83
(1962): 352; Frank Bovenkerk, The Sociology of Return
Migration: A Bibliographic Essay (The Hague: Martinus
Nijhoff, 1974), p. 1, 7; R. R. Campbell, Daniel M.
Johnson, and Gary Stangler, "Return Migration of Black
People to the South," Rural Sociology 39:4 (1974): p.
514; Francesco P. Cerase, "A Study of Italian Migrants
Returning from the U.S.A.," International Migration
Review (N.S.) 1:3 (1967): 67; John Connell, Biplab
Dasgupta, Roy Laishley, and Michael Lipton, Migration
from Rural Areas: The Evidence from Village Studies
(Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1976) pp, 3, 21;
Kingsley Davis, Foreword in Return Migration to Puerto
Rico by Jos4 HernAndez Alvarez (Berkeley: Institute
of International Studies, University of California,
1967) p. vii; Waltraut Feindt and Harley L. Browning,
"Return Migration: Its Significance in an Industrial
Metropolis and an Agricultural Town in Mexico,"
International Migration Review 6:2 (1972) p. 158;
Nancy B. Graves and Theodore D. Graves, "Adaptive
Strategies in Urban Migration," in Annual Review of
Anthropology, vol. 3, ed. Bernard J. Siegel (Palo
Alto, California: Annual Reviews, 1974), p. 126;
Billie Jean Isbell, "The Influence of Migrants upon
Traditional Social and Political Concepts: A Peruvian
Case," in Anthropological Perspectives on Latin
American Urbanization, eds. Wayne A. Cornelius and
Felicity M. Trueblood. Latin American Urban Research,
vol. 4 (Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1974), p.
237; Russel King, "Problems of Return Migration: Case
Study of Italians Returning from Britain," Tijdschrift
voor Economische en Sociale Geografie 68:4 (1977):
241; Harold J. McArthur, Jr., "The Effects of Overseas
Work on Return Migrants and Their Home Communities: A
Philippine Case," Papers in Anthropology 20:1
(1979):85-104; Robert E. Rhoades, "Intra-European
Return Migration and Rural Development: Lessons from
the Spanish Case," Human Organization 37:2 (1978):
136 and "Toward an Anthropology of Return Migration,"
Papers in Anthropology 20:1 (1979):i-iii.

llBovenkerk, p. 1.

12B. Davison; H. Orlando Patterson, "West Indian
Migrants Returning Home: Some Observations," Race 10:1
(1968): 69-77; Edward Taylor, "The Social Adjustment
of Returned Migrants to Jamaica," in Ethnicity in the
Americas, ed. Frances Henry (The Hague: Mouton, 1976),
pp. 213-230.

13Betley, pp. 315-328; Crane, pp. 71, 101, 213; B.
Davison; Robert Dirks, "Networks, Groups and
Adaptation in an Afro-American Community," Man (N.S.)
7:4 (1972): 572; Frucht; Hill, pp. 227, 262, 286;
David Lowenthal, west Indian Societies (London: Oxford
University Press, 1972), pp. 221-222, 230; Otterbein,
pp. 33-34; Philpott (1973), pp. 50-51, 67-69, 80,
94-95, 108-112, 122; Michael G. Smith, Kinship and
Community in Carriacou (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale
University Press, 1962), pp. 58, 65, 110, 123-124;
Raymond T. Smith, The Negro Family in British Guiana:
Family Structure and Social Status in the
Villages (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1956), p.
137; Taylor; Wilson, pp. 112-115, 155, 158.

14Brookes; Crane, pp. 71, 162, 210, 213, 244; Hill, p.
230; Lowenthal, 218, 227' Otterbein, p. 90; Philpott
(1973), pp. 69, 146, 154, 178-179, 187-190.

15Frucht; Hill, pp. 218, 227, 370; Lowenthal, pp.
221-222; Philpott (1973), pp. 190-191.

16Taylor, p. 221.

17Nancie L. Solien Gonzalez, Black Carib Household
Structure: A Study of Migration and Modernization
(Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1969).

18Elsa M. Chaney, Foreword, The World Economy and
Contemporary Migration, International Migration
Review 13:2 (1979): 207-208.

19William A. Douglass, "Peasant Emigrants: Reactors or
Actors?" Proceedings of the Annual Spring Meeting of
the American Ethnological Society, 1970 (Seattle:
University of Washington Press), pp. 21-35.

20Nancie L. Solien de Gonzalez, "Family Organization in
Five Types of Migratory Wage Labor," American
Anthropologist 63 (1961), p. 1265.

21Amersfoort, p. 18; Solien de Gonzalez (1961), pp.

22"Circulation," Bovenkerk, p. 5; "cyclical migration,"
Bovenkerk, p. 4; "circular migration," Amersfoort;
Connell et al, p. 121-125; Graves and Graves, pp.
119-120; "temporary, recurrent migration," Raymond E.
Wiest, "Wage-Labor Migration and the Household in a
Mexican Town," Journal of Anthropological Research
29:3 (1973), pp. 182-183; "recurrent migration,"
Solien de Gonzalez(1961), pp. 1268-1269; Douglass, p.

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