EASA2016: Anthropological legacies and human futures

Embedding onward migration within Europe into long-distance migratory trajectories [Anthromob]
Location U6-7
Date and Start Time 22 July, 2016 at 09:00
Sessions 2


  • Inga Schwarz (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg) email
  • Andrea Priori (Università Roma Tre) email

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Short Abstract

Contemporary research in migration studies considers local, regional and transnational im/mobilities as passages of the same migratory trajectory. The panel interconnects internal and transnational im/mobilities by focusing on onward migration within Europe as a significant element of migratory journeys.

Long Abstract

Research on onward migration currently reshapes the field of migration studies. In the past, scholars have been mainly concerned with migration as process of relocation from departure country to destination country, a one-way model underlying permanent settlement in the ‘host’ state and no subsequent movements toward further destinations (Sayad, 1999). Such static approaches are based on a state-centered perspective and continue to influence the field of migration studies with epistemologies produced along the lines of methodological nationalism (Wimmer, Glick-Schiller, 2002).They try to fix what is unfixable to make it knowable within a clear spatial and temporal framework (Cresswell, 2006).

Recently, several studies highlighted the complexity and stratification of migratory trajectories showing how people settle in several countries during a life-time, as part of their situational strategies of re-migration, step by step migration, or circular movements implying repeated departures and returns. Going beyond the idea of migration as a bipolar relocation from A to B, those studies shed light on fragmented migratory landscapes and im/mobile practices of people moving through. Accordingly, migratory trajectories are considered as long-term paths consisting of local, regional and transnational im/mobilities which may be passages of the same migratory journey.

The panel includes papers based on ethnographic fieldwork on the currently increasing phenomenon of onward migration within Europe. It will focus on the emergence of different practices and strategies of onward migration and aims to explore the entanglement between individual trajectories and general trends as well as between local worlds and transnational spaces.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.


Mobilities at work: internal and transnational routes of migration in the Italian agricultural sector

Author: Gloria Carlini (University of Milano-Bicocca)  email

Short Abstract

What does it mean to be a transnational migrant in the agricultural sector, defined by internal mobility and seasonality. The experiences of a Ghanaian community of day-labourers in Northern Apulia will show how the meanings of internal, national and transnational are constantly reshaped in their narratives

Long Abstract

Until the 1970s, day-labour was "an Italian affair", characterized by well established routes of internal mobility, due to the seasonality of the agricultural work. Global economic and political changes, as well as new patterns of European and international migration, completely redefined the socio-anthropological landscape of the agricultural sector: Italian workers have been almost completely replaced by migrant workforce whose route of transnational migration intersect with already existing internal paths of mobility, traced by former Italian workers, and with new ones opened by new labour markets, transformed systems of labour recruitment, and the effects of national migration policies.

Starting from my fieldwork experience among a Ghanaian community of day-labourers in the countryside nearby Cerignola, northern Apulia, and using an ethnographic approach, I will trace their migratory biographies from below. According to the theoretical literature on migration, these workers are economic transnational migrants; but once arrived in Italy, they become internal migrants as well, following the seasonality of the agricultural work and the route of informal economy fostered by State migration control.

Using their personal experiences and meanings of mobility and immobility, I will try to inquire the blurred boundaries between "internal", "national" and "transnational", showing how transnational projects of mobility are continually re-shaped within the new local context of migration and in the everyday lives.

Migrants in Italy, citizens in Europe? The intra-European onward migrations. A case study

Author: Francesco Della Puppa (laboratory for social research - Ca' Foscari University in Venice; Fisppa Dept. - University of Padua)  email

Short Abstract

This paper focuses on the strategic use of Italian citizenship by Bangladeshi migrants who, after having obtained their EU passport, plan to leave Italy and move to the UK. The paper will analyze the meanings of this onward migration as well as the onward migrants' agency and strategies.

Long Abstract

This paper focuses on the strategic use of Italian citizenship by Bangladeshi migrants who plan to leave Italy and move to the UK.

This onward migration is represented by the Bangladeshi families interviewed as a strategy to improve their children's upward social mobility and as a coping strategy to the labour segregation which, in Southern Europe, channels migrants into specific niches of the labour market. Furthermore, the UK is represented as a more attractive destination than Italy because of its welfare system and because perceived as "culturally" closer, due to the so called "British multiculturalism".

The Italian-Bangladeshi families have interpreted the profound changes affecting Italy as something that is limiting the opportunities for their upward socio-economic mobility. They are strategically using their administrative status, their mobility capital and their international social networks to offer the future generations better opportunities for social achievement. Actually, the families that are leaving Italy are the most stable ones (from the point of view of administrative, housing and working conditions), those with more social, cultural, migratory and networks resources both in Italy and in the UK. In doing so, they demonstrate a truly European conception of citizenship and an agency that transcends national boundaries.

Rome as a crossroad: transnational routes and local dimensions of the Bangladeshi migrations in Italy

Author: Andrea Priori (Università Roma Tre)  email

Short Abstract

This contribution analyzes the position of Rome in the geography of the Bangladeshi migrations, starting from an ethnographical research carried out between 2007 and 2015, in order to focus on the interconnection between transnational spaces and local dimensions in the life trajectories of migrants.

Long Abstract

This contribution is based on an ethnographical research on the migrations from Bangladesh to Italy carried out between 2007 and 2015, and aims to analyze the position of the city of Rome in the geography of the migratory process, focusing especially on the interconnection between transnational spaces and local dimensions in the life trajectories of probashi, the Bangladeshi migrants.

In the 90s of the twentieth century Rome suddenly became the epicentre of the Italian migratory system for Bangladeshi, and currently remains a fundamental turning point, although having in part lost his role of favorite destination. From the capital city probashi can try to proceed toward more prestigious international destinations, toward other Italian cities, rather than settle in and enter the local worlds of this polycentric metropolis. But Rome is also the centre of temporary movements, with more or less periodical departures and returns. For transnational migrants the Eternal City is part of a pendular itinerary in the global ecumene, for many others is a helter shelter, a secure place to come back from the North Italy in a period of unexpected irregularity, thanks to his lack of police controls and to his urban characteristics, while for seasonal laborers is the pivot on which turns a periodical movement that connects Rome with a regional system, rather than with a national network involving many touristic destinations.

The mobility of a transnational generation: an ethnographic study on descendants of Germans in contemporary Helsinki

Author: Dorothea Breier (University of Helsinki)  email

Short Abstract

How do the possibilities of people with migrant background influence their feeling of belonging and the life-course they chose? On what grounds do they decide to move to one country or the other, and how do the experiences they have shape them?

Long Abstract

Mobility and migration do not end with people moving from one country to the other. One of the results of such movements is an increasing number of people with migrant family background, children or children-children of migrants. Those people often grow up under the influence of two or more cultural frameworks and experience a high amount of mobility from the day of their birth. This mobility can be both physical, for instance as annual visits of the parent(s) home country, as well as mental, in the shape of a mobile mindset and an awareness of one's mixed ethnicity.

This is where this presentation on descendants of Germans in contemporary Helsinki links to. Based on material of her ongoing dissertation project, D. Breier analyses how the possibilities those people have influence their feeling of belonging and the decisions they make. How did the knowledge of being part of both cultures shape them, their thoughts and wishes? Were there any personal consequences arising from their families' constitutions? What were the (mobile) strategies and life-courses they chose for finding their spot in life? How do they reflect upon them and the experiences they had while being on the move?

By drawing on tendencies found in D. Breier's interview material, this presentation intends to show how transnational lives of descendants of migrants can look like, what practices and life-strategies are involved, and how people with such background reflect on themselves, their chances and choices.

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From (e)migration to a mobile lifestyle: reflections on different forms of mobility

Authors: Seraina Claudia Müller (University of Basel (CH))  email
Aldina Camenisch (University of Basel)  email

Short Abstract

This paper aims to discuss the varying natures of migration processes and how onward migration can result in a mobile lifestyle. Furthermore, the paper sheds light on the entangled fields of migration and mobility. We argue for a more nuanced usage of the theoretical frameworks.

Long Abstract

Departing from on-going fieldwork in China and Northern Europe among Swiss nationals, this paper explores the various possibilities and outcomes a migration process can entail. Furthermore, it analyses the somehow misty field of what could be called 'the migration-mobility nexus'. In conclusion, we argue for a more nuanced usage of the theoretical frameworks.

Initially, we laid our research focus on how contemporary forms of (e)migration are shaped and perceived. This initial approach of migration as a movement from A to B turned out to be quite a static perspective.

The preliminary findings of our study show in fact a fairly different picture: After a first (e)migration experience, taking off again towards another destination becomes more likely. People who initially intended to leave for a limited period of time, happen to spend the bigger part of their lives abroad. Some of our respondents end up with truly mobile lifestyles, with multiple places becoming part of their personal 'geography of belonging'. These insights lead us to the assumption that many migrant biographies are not the result of careful planning but rather the outcome of a dynamic and flexible life(style).

On the basis of those analytical observations, the second part of the paper explores the entangled field of the 'migration-mobility nexus'. Where does migration end and mobility start? Where is the fine line between the labels 'migrant' and 'expat' drawn? And (how) does migration-mobility research reinforce these problematic categories rather than contribute to a more critical, nuanced discussion?

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.