American Ethnological Society
Oral Presentation Session
The comparative analysis of Ecuadorian and Cuban migrants’ recent experiences of return to their respective countries of origin, notably from Spain and other European countries affected by the global financial crisis, highlights significant convergences in the areas of everyday life that become key sources of moral concern and deliberation. Among these are the economic activities and relations that migrants develop upon returning, which are heavily invested by moral reasoning and critique. The economic life of returnees garners much attention among local residents, who focus on it to assess the transformative potential of migration and to appraise migrants’ reincorporation of, and effects on Ecuadorian and Cuban society. In turn, returnees elaborate on how their life in Europe has affected their economic subjectivities, practices, and ideals. Such assessments lead them to reevaluate the place and nature of the “economic” and its relation to “culture” and “society”. Looking at how specific moral concerns and deliberations emerge and circulate with migratory trajectories, we argue, is a productive way to uncover their transformative effects and power differentials. By focusing on why and how specific domains of life are morally teased out and charged, we gain new insights on how migratory experiences reshape people’s ways of being, their ideals of a good life, and the contexts and situations in which they become entangled.