Hidden Figures: Ageing Migrants' Cultural Practices and Materiality
Nodira Kholmatova (European University Institute)
Paper short abstract:
I analyze the experiences of return migration and the reintegration of the aging migrants. My work contributes to the research that problematizes the "ignored side of labor migration" while asking where, and under what conditions, will the millions of aging migrants retire? (Mahler & Pessar, 2006).
Paper long abstract:
My study examines the experiences of return migration and the reintegration of the aging migrants. The paper contributes to the research that problematizes the "ignored side of labor migration" while asking where, and under what conditions, will the millions of aging migrants retire? (Mahler & Pessar, 2006). The country context, which migrants return to, makes a substantial difference in the study of the reintegration process (Cassarino, 2004; Kuschminder, 2017). I focus on the case of post-socialist Tajikistan and labor migration to Russia. In family-oriented economies, it is part of the part of cultural practice for the parents to support financially the children (Harris, 2004; Kandiyoti, 1988). Aging migrant parents, enabled by modern technologies, tend to provide for their children's higher education, marriage and sustaining their grandchildren. The data analysis and discussion rely on the extensive multi-sited research that allowed me to examine the experiences of aging migrants in four regions of Tajikistan. This data collection approach allowed me not only to trace and collect life cycle stories of migrants but also to incorporate the community discourse on migration. The aging migrants pursue transnational lifestyles, work hard and contribute to the well-being of their family, yet their own future seems to them uncertain since not each of them is entitled to a decent retirement. Such uncertain plans for the future were common among the women and men in my study. Migrants are mobile for many years, but when they reach retirement age, they become concerned about their health and pension.
Spaces of Ageing - New Horizons of Mobility and Materiality in Later Life [Age and Generations Network]