Author:Sanja Cukut (Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts)
Paper short abstract:
Through stories of female migrants from the former Soviet Union, processes of multiple belonging and subject positions at the intersection of gender, class and ethnicity, are presented. Both inclusion and exclusion of migrants and mutually competitive discourses in EU migration policy are analysed through a lens of their transnational activities.
Paper long abstract:
The contribution will, through the analysis of life stories of women from the former Soviet Union in Slovenia, present their conceptualisations of 'home', ethnic and cultural belonging. Processes of multiple belonging and identity formation, traced in the stories, point to the complexity and fluidity of migrant subjectivities and reveal multiple subject positions at the intersection of gender, class and ethnicity. In this respect, ethnic and cultural belongings are themselves fluid, and context-dependent as neither the 'country of origin' nor the 'new society' can be understood as homogenous, static entities. However, transnational movement causes contradictory processes that pertain to both inclusion and exclusion of migrants and contain mutually competitive discourses: the idea of human rights and equal treatment of all individuals; and the exclusion from different rights (for instance, social and employment rights, inability to gain dual citizenship, privileging the 'classical marriage' model) and racisms (for example, the 'sexualised' images of women from the former Soviet Union as exotic dancers and prostitutes, the construction of the 'Eastern female') experienced by migrants. I will trace such a contradiction in EU discourses, which both promote freedom and openness and create new stratifications by severely restricting transnational movement of third-country nationals across the EU. The paper will reveal the heterogeneity and diversity of individual experiences and argue that heterogeneity of migrants might be a crucial starting point for devising integration policies which should address different migrants' needs and experiences and their relation to the country of origin through various transnational practices.
Mutuality at a distance - transnational social space