Chapter 4: ‘Like a pair of worn-out slippers’: place attraction factors among return migrants to peripheral places
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What makes peripheral places attractive to highly educated out-migrants is the focus of this chapter. Based on a theoretical discussion of place attractiveness and migration studies, the study identifies three types of place attraction factors – cultural, economic and social – the last of which has been given negligible scholarly attention. The empirical investigation demonstrates that social networks are the key attraction factor for return migrants to peripheral places, and that cultural and economic factors hold secondary importance during the life phase with dependent children. Return migrants’ relations to peripheral places are, however, ambiguous in that their narrations are characterized by a movement back and forth between idyllization and identifying with and criticizing and distancing oneself from the peripheral place. Based on the theoretical and empirical discussions, place branding implications for peripheral places are reflected on.

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