Making home in exile

Laura Jeffery

in Chagos Islanders in Mauritius and the UK

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780719084300
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702451 | DOI:
Making home in exile

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This chapter continues Chapter 5's ethnographic focus on the Chagossian community in Crawley, while revisiting the themes of home and homeland explored in Part II. It starts by revisiting debates amongst scholars of migration and displacement about the distinction between ‘forced displacement’ and ‘voluntary migration’. It asks to what extent Chagossians contrast their forced displacement from Chagos to Mauritius with their onward migration from Mauritius to the UK. The data reveal that experiences of onward migration to the UK and settlement in Crawley have challenged Chagossians' preconceptions of Britons and of life in the UK, and subtly altered their assessments of Mauritians and life in Mauritius. Next, the chapter examines the degree to which experiences of migration and settlement in the UK and changing visions of the future are delineated according to stage in the life course. It concludes that, despite very different experience of forced displacement and onward migration, claims of a desire to return to Mauritius take much the same form amongst migrant Chagossians in Crawley as claims of a desire to return to Chagos take amongst displaced Chagos islanders in Mauritius.

Keywords: Chagossians; migration; forced displacement; Mauritius; Chagos Archipelago; UK; Crawley

Chapter.  9236 words. 

Subjects: Ethical Issues and Debates

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