Coming Full Circle? Return Migration and the Social Mobility on the Bjäre Peninsula 1860-1930

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


One million three hundred thousand people left Sweden for America between 1860 and 1930. In the same period, approximately two hundred thousand people returned to Sweden. "Coming Full Circle?" is an analysis of the fate and local impact of the local returnees on the Bjäre peninsula in southern Sweden. This thesis examines anew both the sources used by previous Swedish research and previously neglected material. The earlier Swedish research deemed the American experiences of the returnees and their impact on local Swedish communities to be insignificant. This thesis shows that methodological errors and use of insufficient source material hampered the results of the previous Swedish research. This resulted in premature conclusions concerning the effect of the return migration, both on the returnees and on the local communities. The returnees to the Bjäre peninsula were both economically and politically successful. The time spent in America enabled many returnees to climb socially or at least maintain the same social status as their parents, despite poor odds. Compared to their peers who hade remained in the Bjäre peninsula, the returnees more successfully managed to avoid proletarianization. The time spent in America also affected the lifestyles of the returnees, lifestyles that many returnees maintained to some degree after their return to Sweden. Through their more affluent lifestyles and economic successes, the returnees played a part in the transformation of the Bjäre peninsula. The results from the the Bjäre peninsula show that the Swedish returnees were not as unique as has been argued by the previous research. On the contrary, the Bjäre returnees displayed many of the features associated with return migration that has been found in other countries around the world.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • History


  • Sociala strukturer, Social structures, Ekonomisk och social historia, Båstad, Social and economic history, Bjäre, Contemporary history (circa 1800 to 1914), Modern historia (ca. 1800-1914), Social Mobility, Sweden, United States, History, Historia, Return Migration, Returnees, Political Activities, Local History, Lifestyles, Emigration, Immigration
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
Award date2007 Dec 11
  • Sisyfos förlag
Print ISBNs978-91-974902-5-2
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2007-12-11 Time: 13:15 Place: Sal 3, Historiska Institutionen External reviewer(s) Name: Runblom, Harald Title: Professor Affiliation: Uppsala Universitet ---