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The Second-Generation Turkish-Germans Return ‘Home’: Gendered Narratives of Renegotiated Identities


  • Nilay Kilinç

Summary, in English

Turkish migration to Germany which started in the 1960s as ‘guestworker’ migration soon matured to a permanent settlement. Today, Turkish labour diaspora is the largest migrant group in Germany and Europe. The daughters and sons of the first generation Turkish migrants have a different understanding of ‘home’ compared to their parents. Their upbringing in Germany and transnational links to Turkey create a tension between their constructions of ‘belonging’ and ‘home’. This thesis evaluates the second generation’s constructions of ‘home’ within their ‘Turkish’ upbringing in Germany and their ‘return’ orientations and post-return experiences in Turkey. The special focus is given to gender roles and renegotiations in the second generation’s return journey. The empirical evidence comes from in-depth, semi-structured interviews carried out with a non-random sample of Turkish-Germans, interviewed in and around Istanbul in 2012. The analysis section of the thesis is built around answers and insights into three main sets of research questions. First, how did their upbringing within a Turkish family construct and affect their senses of ‘belonging’ and ‘home’? To what extent are nostalgia and family narratives effective on their ‘home’ constructions? Second, how did their childhood memories from Turkey affect their motivations to return to the parental homeland? Third, how does the second generation renegotiate their diasporic and gender identity in the parental homeland? Do they feel that they belong to Turkey? How do they reflect upon their diasporic past in Germany? The thesis analyses these questions with a reference to diaspora, memory, return migration, generation and gender theories. The findings illustrate that family narratives and Turkish upbringing are important components of the second generation’s ‘home’ constructions. However, the return experiences show that their ‘imagined home’ and ‘reality’ do not always match. Men and women experience the life within diaspora and return differently. The thesis contributes a new case-study to the growing literature on return migration; but also to diaspora and memory studies and gendered dimensions of migration.







Examensarbete för masterexamen (Två år)


  • Social Sciences


  • diaspora
  • gender
  • return migration
  • colletive memory
  • Second generation
  • Turkish-Germans


  • Eleonora Narvselius