Volume 36 - Article 49 | Pages 1491–1514

The quest for a ‘better life’: Second-generation Turkish-Germans ‘return’ to ‘paradise’

By Nilay Kılınç, Russell King

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Date received:30 Aug 2015
Date published:05 May 2017
Word count:8358
Keywords:lifestyle migration, return migration, second generation, Turkey, work-life balance
DOI:10.4054/DemRes.2017.36.49
 

Abstract

Background: This paper uses a lifestyle-migration lens to analyse the ‘return’ of the Turkish-German second generation to their parents’ homeland, Turkey. It focuses on a scenically attractive touristic region, Antalya on the south coast, where second-generation ‘returnees’ find a highly congenial environment to pursue their project of living a ‘better life’ in the ancestral homeland.

Methods: Thirty in-depth interviews with second-generation Turkish-Germans, mostly in their 30s and 40s, were carried out in and around Antalya in 2014. Narratives were coded and prepared for thematic analysis using NVivo.

Results: According to thematic analysis of interview narratives, many respondents were seeking to ‘escape’ from difficult personal, family, and economic situations. They mobilised their human capital of educational qualifications, language skills, and life experience to set up or get jobs in hotels, restaurants, and other tourist services, combining work with a relaxed attitude to life in what they saw as a ‘paradise’ of natural beauty and social open-mindedness. Alongside these practical considerations of seeking a better work-life balance were more existential themes of rediscovering their ‘true selves’ and reinventing the meaning of ‘home’ in this cosmopolitan niche.

Contribution: The first contribution relates to the use of the concept of lifestyle migration to explain the experiences of second-generation Turkish-German 'returnees' who resettle in Turkey. Secondly we focus on a particular place in Turkey - Antalya - which offers a particular 'space' for the study population to achieve what they perceive as a 'better life'.

Author's Affiliation

Nilay Kılınç - University of Surrey, United Kingdom [Email]
Russell King - University of Sussex, United Kingdom [Email]

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