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‘Black skins–white masks’: Postcolonial reflections on ‘race’, gender and second generation return migration to the Caribbean

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This paper illustrates the opportunities afforded by the adoption of postcolonial discourse in development geography, drawing specifically on issues of transnationalism, hybridity and inbetweeness. The utility of such notions and associated approaches is illustrated by the authors’ current research on the migration of young, second generation and foreign-born ‘Bajan-Brits’ to the small Caribbean island nation of Barbados, the homeland of their parents. Focussing on issues of ‘race’ and gender, the paper examines the experiences of return migration among this cohort from an interpretative perspective framed within postcolonial discourse. It argues that notwithstanding the considerable sociocultural problems of adjustment encountered, these Bajan-Brit ‘returnees’ may be seen as occupying positions of relative economic privilege. Theirs is a liminal space derived by virtue of having been born and/or raised in the UK and being of the black ‘race’. Accordingly, they are demonstrated to be both advantaged and disadvantaged; both transnational and national; and black but, in some senses, symbolically white.

Keywords: Caribbean; gender; postcolonial; return migration; ‘race’

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 2006

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