Motherhood Motivations: African Refugee Women Resettled in Australia and Return Visits to a Country of First Asylum


Ramsay, Georgina. 2016. “Motherhood Motivations: African Refugee Women Resettled in Australia and Return Visits to a Country of First Asylum.” International Migration 54 (4): 87–101. doi:10.1111/imig.12249.

Author: Georgina Ramsay


This article expands on conceptualizations of refugee “return” by examining why African women resettled as refugees in Australia return to visit the country of first asylum from which they were previously resettled. I show that their return visits do not relate to attachment to place, but are motivated by social obligations to practise “motherhood” to family members who, due to conflict-induced displacement, remain in a country of first asylum. I argue that the phenomenon of refugee “return” cannot be conflated exclusively with return to country of origin but is, for African women in particular, centred on the reinvigoration of care relationships across diasporic settings of asylum in which family remain. Building on an emergent focus on feminization in migration studies, I show how these gendered dynamics of refugee “return” are an entry point from which to re-consider how scholarship and policy take into account “family” in contexts of forced migration.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Refugees, Gender, Women Regions: Africa, Oceania Countries: Australia

Year: 2016

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