Accepted Paper:

Death in the life of Ukrainian migrants to Italy  


Olena Fedyuk (University of Strathclyde)

Paper short abstract:

Many anthropologists deal with exchange of labor, money and knowledge in order to capture the dialectics of labor migration. However, there is hardly any analysis of instances of death in migration, which for many migrants constitutes daily experience and brings out hefty symbolic connotations.

Paper long abstract:

Majority of Ukrainians in Italy work in a care sector where they have to look after old and terminally sick people. For most migrants the death of the person in care means not only personal trauma caused by the intense care work of the last days of the person's life but also marks the loss of job and home. For many, the burden is intensified by the fact that they have to leave their own parents and children without proper care in Ukraine.

The paper, explores three major presences of death in the life of Ukrainian migrants, i.e. the death of the persons in care, the death of migrants' family members back at home, and the instances of death of Ukrainian migrants in Italy. Death, stretching across the borders, exposes migrants' own structural and spatial limitations, financial and legal restrictions, symbolically represents migrants' loss of time spent away from the families, and the loss of intimacy with their dear ones in the course of migration.

Panel W095
East looks West and West looks East - mutual constructions of anthropology