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Argentine Migrants to Spain and Returnees: A Case for Accumulation of Civic Assets


  • Jorge Ginieniewicz

    1. Social Aetiology of Mental Illness (SAMI) CIHR Fellow, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH); Honorary Research Fellow, Global Urban Research Fellow, University of Manchester.
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Conceptually, this paper relies on the asset accumulation framework and identifies its relevance to work on Argentine migrants to Spain and returnees. The asset accumulation framework represents an innovative approach to understanding the complexities of migratory flows in a transnational context. In order to comprehend and tackle migration, this framework pays particular attention to investment and savings in various domains, including the financial, social, human, civic and political fields. Responding to gaps in current studies, the objective of this paper is twofold. First, it expands the asset accumulation framework by differentiating between civic and political assets. Second, using data drawn from interviews conducted among Argentine migrants and returnees in the cities of Barcelona and Buenos Aires, this paper fleshes out the definition of civic assets. The findings indicate that, for interviewees, moving to Spain implied the accumulation of civic assets that enhanced the development of a more equitable and democratic society. Respondents incorporated new civic capabilities in several areas, including increased environmental awareness and tolerance for minority groups, as well as the acquisition of knowledge about equity and labour rights. In addition, results suggest that, as a result of the migratory experience, many interviewees went through reflective processes that made them question their old presumptions about both the receiving and sending societies.