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The University of Southampton
Centre for Mexico-Southampton CollaborationEnglish

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This research investigates the cultural and linguistic needs of returning migrants, specifically Mexicans returning from the US.

Many Mexicans return from the USA with new linguistic abilities
Crossing the border

Policymakers are beginning to address returnees’ economic, legal and social welfare, but have been all but blind to the cultural and linguistic problems they face trying to re-integrate into their home communities.

With the advent of Obama, likely changes in immigration policies, and economic recession, now is the time to address the needs of returnees, whose numbers are likely to rocket.

Thinking outside the outmoded paradigm of nation-states, this project explores the world of returnees in a transnational context. It will investigate, in particular, how language shapes the identities of returnees, what cultural practices returning migrants bring with them, and how these complement and collide with those they find back home. Through fieldwork in Mexico and the US, we will interview and observe migrants of different ages, gender and social backgrounds who have returned or are planning to return. We will work with academics and policy makers in Mexico, US and Europe, involving the stakeholders affected by return migration at all levels.

Our findings will be of use to policymakers in Mexico and the US to address critical national and local issues pertaining to returnees regarding education, culture and language. Our outputs will be workshops, a major conference, a book and policy briefing reports.

Adapting or using similar frameworks to those developed in previous and on-going research carried out by members of the research team from University of Southampton, and using a combination of ethnography and migrant language biographies, we will explore the experience of return as process (not just as event), addressing questions such as:

We aim to centre our fieldwork in and around the city of San Luís Potosí using settings and research sources where we can trace both sociolinguistic and sociocultural practices, such as, shops, schools, clubs, churches, cultural associations, Casas de la Cultura, local radio stations, local press, tourist venues.. In these places we will carry out participant observation and establish potential contacts for individual interviews.

We will also make links with academics and researchers working in Mexico, and in particular in universities in San Luis Potosí (UASLP and UPSLP) and Higher Education Institutions in Mexico City.

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