chapter  3
16 Pages

‘Girls just like to be friends with people’: gendered experiences of migration among children and youth in returning Irish migrant families

ByCaitríona Ní Laoire

There is growing interest in the diverse nature of children’s experiences of migration, marking

something of a shift from the historical tendency to focus only on migrant children in particularly

vulnerable situations, such as asylum-seeking or trafficking. Studies have begun to focus more

on children’s experiences of family migration (Orellana et al. 2001, Bushin 2009, Hutchins

2011), urban-rural migration (Bushin 2005), high-skill migration (Hatfield 2010) and internal

EU migration (Ackers and Stalford 2004). A very small number of studies have focused on chil-

dren who participate in return migration and in general it has been argued that they are a particu-

larly invisible group (Kno¨rr 2005, Hatfield 2010, Nı´ Laoire 2011). This invisibility can be

understood in the context of hegemonic understandings of return migration as a relatively unpro-

blematic reinsertion in a ‘homeland’, together with a tendency for research on family migration

to assume that children are simply a form of ‘luggage’ rather than migrants in their own right

(Orellana et al. 2001, Stefansson 2004, Bushin 2009). As a result, their experiences tend to

be overlooked.