Professional remittances: how ageing returnees seek to contribute to the homeland

Chih-Yan SUN*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2404-2420
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
    Issue number14
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2016

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Demography
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Ageing
    • belonging
    • migration
    • social membership
    • transnationalism


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