Conceptualisations of voluntary return have been typically contrasted with deportation, or forced removal, which provides a limited understanding of migrants’ motivations, agency, and actions and the processes involved. Migrants are classified as either having no choice but to migrate (involuntary migrants) or migrating voluntarily (voluntary migrants). This chapter critically evaluates the role that the notion of voluntariness plays in return migration decisions. Drawing from semi-structured interviews with Somali returnees and deportees, the study analysed returnees’ return decision-making and the labelling by the authorities. Findings show that voluntariness, agency, force and coercion operate at different levels and in different places of their return process. The study found that migrants’ return decision suggests a blurring of boundaries between voluntary and forced with a combination of choice and constraints that vary among the individuals. These findings further highlight the importance of individual circumstances in understanding return and reintegration dynamics beyond administrative labels.
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Owigo, J. (2023). The Motivations for Return Migration to Somalia: Beyond the Voluntary and Forced Binary. In: Adeniran, A.I. (eds) African Development and Global Engagements. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-21283-3_10
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