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Title: Intending to return; Portuguese migrants in France : A case study from Grenoble.
Author: Caspari, A.
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 1986
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The movement of labour from the less developed countries of southern Europe and North Africa to the industrial economiesof northern Europe in the 1960s and 1970s, has led to a migrant populationof some 15 million in these countries. Poduguese labour migration to France has been part of this wider movement, and the Portuguese are one of the largest migrant groups, representing over one fifth of the estimated four millionmigrants in France. Ambivalenceas to the migrants' status and future is considerable on the level of policy, in the literature concerning these labour migrations, and among the migrants themselves: the uncertainty is whether the phenomenonis one of settlement and permanent immigration or of temporary migration and ultimately the return of migrants to their countries of origin. Takingthe case of Portuguese migrants in Grenoble, this thesis explores the intentions of Portuguese migrant workers in France to return to Portugal. In part this may be seen as a prior intention, consistent with the migrants' initial plans to benefit from the employment opportunities and better pay abroad, and to earn as much money as possible in a short time, in order to be able to return to Portugal. I describe precedents for this kindof a return migration in Portugal's extensive emigration history. However, this return orientation in migration cannot be seen only as the continuity of a cultural form, or as occurring in France in an ideological vacuum. The intention to return to Portugal, which implies a limited commitment to France, and a reference to Portuguese conditions and values, is fundamental in the migrants' tolerance of generally disadvantageous conditions, particularly of employment, in France, and thereby an aspect of the migrants' continuing usefulness there. The migrants' differentiation from the French workforce is in some respects beneficial to French society, and the migrants' economic, political and social marginality is reinforced and perpetuated on an ideologicallevel, by ltgislation, and in a variety of ways in evtryday pratice. Cultural differences may be cultivated, and there is an involuntary aspect to the migrants' marginality and the return orientation. For these reasons I have stressed tht broader political and economic forces in labour migration as the context which acts on the migrants and within which they must act. Yet for many migrants, the intention to return to Portugal is more than a passive response to their vulnerable postition in French society or a product of the ideology of the dominant society. While we are dealing with a subjective intention to return rather than actual returns, this is a dynamic element of migrant identity and culture in France, full of tensions but with great symbolic importance as well as far-reaching practical implications for their lives and the nature of their participation in French life. This is particularly the case for many of the older generation of migrants aged between 30-50. Their return orientation is often accompaniedby an adherence to what they see as 'Portuguese' values and culture, the forms and expressions of which I consider; it is also associated with the maintenance of social and economio links with Portugal, distinctive savings and consumption patterns, a steady flow of remittances, and by a perception of migration as temporary even after 20 or more years' residence in France. The return orientation is central among many Portuguese migrants in France, not just as a latent desire, but as a system of meaning and a structuring principle in every day life; plans to return not only justify migration in tht long term, but are a priority which is used to organise and give coherence to the migrants' daily strategies and choices. TM maintenance of an alternative value system, an identity, and options aside from those that conditions in France impose on them, gives the migrants a certain autonomy despite the constraints of their situation
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Labour migration to France Demography Labor Anthropology Folklore