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Accepted Paper:

Romanian Roma between industrial labour and seasonal migration  
Neda Deneva-Faje (Babes-Bolyai University and SYNYO)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores Romanian Roma in their pursuit of making a living by combining industrial labour in Romania and seasonal work as migrants. It traces the mutually constitutive realms of working and living as a migrant and as a citizen in the process of social provisioning.

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores the structural conditions of labour, citizenship and migration regimes in Europe that place workers in precarious position both as migrants and as citizens. Drawing on the case of Romanian Roma, I show how industrial labour in supply-chain Eastern European factories offers precarious working and living conditions, despite the claim to regular and stable employment provided by the industry. Romanian Roma in the North Western re-industrialized town of Baia Mare work as industrial workers with regular contracts and access to social benefits. Yet, this does not result in stability, access to social benefits or indeed financial security in practice. Instead, workers often resort to seasonal transnational migration to make up for the limited income and balance the difficult physical conditions in the factory. Contrary to other examples of short-term migrants who combine informal employment in various localities, in this case we see how fulltime, regular standard employment simply does not provide enough for people to make ends meet. Migration then is a supplementing strategy, which demonstrates how local outsourcing provides unsustainable labour conditions. Economic activities in this case reflect the complex supply-chain processes in which Romanian Roma are navigating as workers both in their position as migrants and as citizens, which are mutually constitutive. In this process of provisioning through patching various roles, they assume a particular role as workers and citizens with claims based on deserving decent working conditions. This paper traces the construction of this meaning making process in the context of larger structural changes.

Panel P070
Making ends meet: Exploring social provisioning beyond migrant/non-migrant binaries
  Session 1 Thursday 28 July, 2022, -