Assisted “voluntary” return of women to Kosovo

Rhetoric and reality within the framework of development

in Regions and Cohesion
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  • 1 Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Finland sandra.sacchetti@gmx.net
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Abstract

Because return migration is reputed to bring back human, economic, and social capital to the countries of origin, it has been a central tenet of the migration and development agenda. Although empirically ill-founded, it is a policy assumption that is also promoted in the context of assisted voluntary return (AVR) programs. This contribution discusses the development-related discourse underlying AVR and compares it with the real-life experiences of four women in Kosovo who were recipients of return assistance. Based on the findings of exploratory and qualitative research, it argues that policy assumptions around AVR center on a hypothetical returned migrant endowed with the ability to improve the situation at home almost single-handedly. Implicit in this notion is a neoliberalist belief that considers the individual to be the shaper of her/his own destiny. This approach is particularly flawed in the case of female returnees, whose reintegration challenges are exacerbated by structural constraints.

Contributor Notes

SANDRA SACCHETTI received her doctorate in Social Sciences from the University of Luxembourg and her MA in Cultural and Social Anthropology from the University of Vienna. She currently heads the External Co-operation Section in the Secretariat of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Regions and Cohesion

Regiones y Cohesión / Régions et Cohésion

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