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THEMIS: From post-socialist to post-accession pioneering: the shaping of Romanian migration networks to Spain and the United Kingdom

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Duration: 0:19:43 | Added: 23 Jan 2014
Chris Moreh presents his paper 'From post-socialist to post-accession pioneering: the shaping of Romanian migration networks to Spain and the UK' in Parallel session IV(E) of the conference Examining Migration Dynamics: Networks and Beyond 24-26 Sept 2013

This paper examines the dynamics of Romanian migration networks following the fall of socialism, by comparing two receiving countries, Spain and the United Kingdom. While Spain is a well-established destination for Romanian migrants, who constitute the most numerous foreign-born group in the Iberian country, the United Kingdom has seen more moderate levels of immigration from Romania, slightly ascending following the latter's EU accession in 2007. The question posed in the paper is why movements to certain places have been more able to develop into systems than others.

To answer this question, the paper analyses the development of particular migration networks in the two countries, showing the complex relationships and contingent events that led to the emergence and preservation of these systems. State, market and individual actors come into dynamic interaction to create and shape migration systems, and the paper traces the activities, histories and effects of key pioneers, migration policies and economic developments. The presented data come from an intensive ethnographic fieldwork in the Community of Madrid, Spain, during the first half of 2009, and an ongoing research in the United Kingdom.

An overarching structural factor analysed is European integration, which can influence all stages of the development and decline of a migration system. Romania's EU accession occurred almost concomitantly with the eruption of the global economic crisis, and the paper examines how these political and economic developments shape existing migrant networks and the initiation of new ones. In this respect, the paper compares the role and position of post-socialist and post-accession pioneers within the political-economic structure prevalent at the time of their migration.

Through this double comparative lens, the paper is able to expand our knowledge on the complexity of migration phenomena, and show how the interrelations between individual and structural factors shape migration systems.

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