This article uses ageing Taiwanese returnees to illustrate how older migrants draw on their accumulated knowledge, experiences, and networks in their host society to contribute to their home society. Drawing on data collected from life history interviews with ageing return migrants, I argue that changing notions of social membership across life stages, coupled with the working experiences that professional middle-class migrants accumulate in the destination society, motivate ageing expatriates to return and devote their later lives to their home society. Specifically, I highlight how ageing migrants seek to bridge the gap between their ancestral and destination societies, further prompting social and cultural changes transnationally. Nevertheless, the extent to which ageing returnees can change their home society is conditioned by structural constraints already in place. Many ageing returnees cannot make as many changes as they would like, since they, as individuals, have trouble bringing about structural changes that require collective efforts. It is against this backdrop that many older returnees develop narratives of Americanisation (and insufficient Americanisation) to explain the difficulties that they encountered when trying to contribute to Taiwan. These narratives point to a hierarchy that ageing returnees believe exists between American and Taiwanese society.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- social membership