Abstract

Abstract:

The return of migrants to their places of origin has been subject to significant theoretical enquiry in recent decades, but testing the resulting modeling against historical data has so far been limited and reliant mainly on nineteenth- and twentieth-century evidence. This article builds upon these foundations by offering detailed analysis of the process of return migration as it affected Scottish migrants to England in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Drawing on theoretical insights from social science and examining a broad range of empirical evidence, the article offers a typology of six categories of return migrants: circular migrants, migrants who intended a temporary stay aimed at self-improvement, those returning to retire, migrants returning to take advantage of employment opportunities at home, failed returnees, and those returning from forced exile. Yet the article concludes that the individual stories incorporated within this framework did not add up to a meaningful overall trend and that, in general, Scottish migrants were more likely to settle permanently in England than to enact returning strategies. This pattern sheds significant light on the process of Anglo-Scottish integration in the early modern period, since the tendency of Scottish migrants to settle rather than return home demonstrates the relative openness of English society to certain incomers, while also, perhaps paradoxically, highlighting the firmly Anglicized idiom of the emergent British state.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-1897
Print ISSN
0022-4529
Pages
pp. 1-25
Launched on MUSE
2018-09-08
Open Access
No
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