Ethnology: An International Journal of Cultural and Social Anthropology, Vol 50, No 1 (2011)


Bernardo Brown


Sri Lankan Catholic migrant workers who return home from Italy with money re-migrate after a short time. They do not find Sri Lanka a welcoming country for investment or work. The dearth of opportunities for returnees is frustrating and leads them to act with indifference towards the place they cherish. Instead of using their savings to invest locally, people spend their money building large houses and buying expensive consumer goods; and when their money runs out, they return to Italy. Unable to be upwardly mobile, their only alternative is to become indifferent to the opinions of those who mock them for “becoming Italian.” However, their indifference can be interpreted as their understanding of the country and of the rigidity of cultural norms that do not afford them recognition for their efforts.

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