restricted access From Diaspora with Dreams, Dreaming about Diaspora: Narratives on a Transnational Chilean Community

This article examines the realization of “projects” to return to the country of origin for Chilean migrants who lived in the Swedish diaspora and how they relate to the social context in which these migrants lived as exiles. Drawing on long-term ethnographic research and the analysis of returnees’ narratives, it argues that the return project is not just the undertaking of isolated individuals, manifested in the decision to move, but rather an expression of discourses and practices embedded in the social context of migrants. The implementation of a return project serves as a “programmed act” of the discourses dominating in exile and becomes, with time, a journey back to “roots” that has different connotations depending on the circumstances of return. The study demonstrates that returnees tend to continue to position themselves as part of their diasporic network even after return. It is concluded that the transnational practices of the diaspora maintain social networks even after people have launched their return projects and moved back to their country of origin. The Swedish-Chilean return projects demonstrate how the idea of people’s cultural and territorial roots serves the diasporic networks’ efforts to bridge seemingly disparate social worlds and refigures that social space.