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Transnational migration in CEE from intersectional perspectives of race, gender, class and citizenship

The Eastern European Left Media Outlet – ELMO is launching a multilingual thematic article series, consisting of 5 parts and this introduction. The general theme of the ELMO  series is transnational migration in the broadest sense of  “mobility in terms of human movement across national borders” (Yeoh and Ramdas 2014). 

We find the theme especially relevant and important to reflect on in the Central European context. This is not only because migration is a source of political gain, and indeed an opportunity for very real and fast capital accumulation, but also since migration stands in front of us as a contemporary development full of contradictions. It shapes social, economic, and political development, as well as the lives of peoples and communities in the broader region. 

Photo: Nenad Ilić

The societies of Central Eastern Europe find their dependent, and semi-peripheral position reflected in both gradual and more abrupt changes linked to migration. These changes include:

  • Continuous labour migration for higher wages and better working conditions, directed towards richer regions of the EU; 
  • The rise of a migration commercial infrastructure and associated industries (ranging from brokers of transnational employment to human trafficking networks);
  • Abrupt changes in border regimes due to Covid-19 restrictions; 
  • Developments stemming from the so-called “European migration crisis” of 2015; 
  • Or, the ongoing migration resulting from Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. 

For some observers, CEE countries might simply feature as pure “transit” countries connecting global peripheries to core countries. However,  there are interdependent processes that make these movements more complex and also more important to study. For example, studying migration within the parameters of unequal exchange (Melegh 2016), or changing institutions and unequal treatment, or from the perspective of the organizations involved  provides new insights into the processes driving international migration from, to, and through CEE. 

We find the study of migration also key to pointing out changing dynamics of existing structural inequalities. Thus incorporating perspectives of mobile but disadvantaged social groups brings out especially vivid features of this contradictory development. 

Parts of the series:

  1. Anastasiya Ryabchuk: Who Will Stay and Who Will Return? Divergent Trajectories Of Ukrainian War Refugees In The EU
  2. Oksana Dutchak: Together We Stand: Enforced Single Motherhood and Ukrainian Refugees’ Care Networks
  3. Céline Cantat: Citizenship And Exclusion In Contemporary Hungary 
  4. András Juhász and Tibor T. Meszmann: Drifters in the Making: Labour Migration from Serbia and the (Re)production of (Trans)national Inequalities
  5. Irene Peano and Chiara Busca: Where Have Eastern Europeans Gone? Made-In-Italy Agribusiness, Mobility Control And The Great Resignation

The articles will be published simultaneously in several languages  on ELMO member platforms – on LeftEast/EN, Mašina & Radnička prava/BHS, Mérce/HU, Platzforma & Gazeta de Artă Politică/RO, dVersia & Baricada Bulgaria/BG and Spilne/UA – between 17th-30th January and a concluding panel discussion will be held on the 31st of January at 19 CET with invited speakers Attila Melegh (Hungary), Goran Lukić (Slovenia), Marta Stojić Mitrović (Serbia) and Olena Fedyuk (Ucraine).

Series curated by Tibor T. Meszmann (LeftEast), Oksana Dutchak and Anastasiya Ryabchuk (Spilne/Commons), Stoyanka Eneva (Levfem), Nóra Ugron (ELMO coordinator/LeftEast), Adriana Qubaiova (LeftEast)

Read the introduction in CEE languages on ELMO member platforms:

For more information about the panel discussion see the Facebook event: https://fb.me/e/3Zn4rIYLo

More about us

ELMO – Eastern European Left Media Outlet is a network of Eastern European left media platforms founded at the end of 2019.  Our vision is a regional network of media platforms that will cooperate based on solidarity and work together for an internationalist Eastern European public. We aim to develop common perspectives on regional issues, generate the flow of reliable and relatable news, by presenting critical regional and globally pertinent analyses.

At the moment our central project involves exchanging materials between our platforms which involves and translating across the regional languages. 

Read our former series in several CEE languages: Central-Eastern European Housing Movements Resisting Neoliberal Urban Transformations and Gig Work in Central-Eastern Europe’s Platform Economy

Subscribe to ELMO’s newsletter here.

References

Melegh, Attila (2016)  Unequal Exchanges and the Radicalization of Demographic Nationalism in Hungary Intersections. East European Journal of Society and Politics, 2 (4): 87-108. 

Yeoh, Brenda S.A. & Kamalini Ramdas (2014) Gender, migration, mobility and transnationalism  Gender, Place & Culture, Volume 21, 2014 – Issue 10

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