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Chagos Islanders in Mauritius and the UKForced Displacement and Onward Migration$
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Laura Jeffery

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780719084300

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719084300.001.0001

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Making home in exile

Making home in exile

(p.111) 6 Making home in exile
Chagos Islanders in Mauritius and the UK

Laura Jeffery

Manchester University Press

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

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