Accepted paper:

Understandings and practices of (im)mobility among Russian-speaking (foreign-born) Narvans


Jaanika Kingumets (University of Tampere)

Paper short abstract:

This paper addresses mobility and immobility both as valued resources, depending on individual and familial circumstances in time and space. Empirically, the practices and understandings of their (im)mobility in post-Soviet space among Russian-speaking Narvans in Estonia are examined.

Paper long abstract:

The mobility of Russian-speaking Narvans born outside of Estonian state borders (but exclusively in former Soviet Union) is legally and physically constituted most of all by citizenship politics in Estonia and their countries of origin. It has to be noticed, however, that the actual practices of (im)mobility across borders are extremely diverse and personalized. Moreover, it is not purely the Narvans' individual (legal) possibilities to move across borders that have effect on their (im)mobility, but also the mobile capacity and behaviour of their significant others (usually family members) in the other end of mobility trajectories. In Narva, as a border-town with Russia which simultaneously stands as a gate between Russia and Schengen visa-free area, the mobility to East vs. West makes an important difference. East is where most of the Narvans I interviewed have kinship connections to, but generally speaking, those connections are weakening as years pass, and West is where the new kinship connections are increasingly formed as their children and grandchildren are looking for opportunities to migrate West-wards. I will explore the dynamics of different aspects in practicing and making claims about (im)mobility in post-Soviet space. I will highlight the particularities of generational, gender, ethnic and class differences in forming different avenues for practices and narrations of (im)mobility.

panel P27
The inequalities of (im)mobility