Return Visits of the Young Albanian Second Generation in Europe: Contrasting Themes and Comparative Host-Country Perspectives
Author(s): Z. Vathi
Research on the links of the second generation to their parental homeland, and return visits in particular, is largely lacking. Drawing on in-depth interviews with 75 Albanian teenagers in London, Thessaloniki and Florence, this paper brings a multi-sited perspective on attitudes towards and experiences of homeland visits. Contrasts are drawn between positive themes emerging from the narratives, which are about belonging, family and nature in Albania, and negative impressions which relate to poverty and traditionalism, and a developing sense of boredom as teenagers get older. We then relate some of these contrasting experiences to differences in social integration in the three different host-society contexts. The conclusion elaborates the uniqueness and significance of this case, both in terms of this being the first exploration of the transnational orientations of one of Europe's newest second generations, and in relation to the home-country context of a liberalising ex-communist country still in a state of economic backwardness.