Israeli global mobile families returning home: children’s social-cultural identities in transition

Mary Gutman, Miri Yemini*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study used interviews and image-based associations with ten Israeli families (mothers and children) who had undertaken long-term work-related journeys lasting between six and nine years, during which they lived in at least two countries before returning to Israel. We explored their experiences and their children's socio-cultural pattern of identity formation both before and after returning to Israel. We distinguished four consecutive stages in the children’s identity formation. Each stage is characterized by a distinct socio-cultural pattern (mastery abroad, adjustment to returning home, shock and disappointment, and finally a sense of inner confidence and peace) and a matching identity (global-international, glocal-international, glocal-Israeli, and local-Israeli). The first two stages reflect the children’s time in the host countries, and the last two relate to their integration after returning to Israel. The results of this study are positioned in a broader context using two theoretical lenses–the U-Curve Theory of Adjustment and the Cultural Identity Framework. The combination of these two led us to come up with a fresh conceptualization (the GALUT model) to reflect the international-Israeli experience of the “relocation graduates’” return to Israel, which may contribute to the understanding of similar processes among children in various international contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-736
Number of pages16
JournalChildren's Geographies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2023


  • Israel
  • Mobility
  • belonging
  • children
  • global middle class
  • global professionals


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