Migration as a Tool for Social Resilience: Lessons From Two Case Studies
Keywords:Migration, Resilience, Agency, Albania, Latvia
Following the fall of socialism in East and Southeast Europe, widespread destabilisation of living conditions was accompanied by immense skill and cost mismatches. Both of these factors continue to contribute to substantial levels of brain drain, brain waste and de-skilling. We propose and discuss the migration-resilience nexus as a new paradigm that emphasises the instrumental dimension of movements and migrants’ agency in terms of the aspiration-capabilities framework. In this paper, we look at migration-specific contexts in two countries suffering from long-term emigration for different reasons. Migratory movements, including emigration and circular and return migration, are interpreted as “tools for social resilience”.
In many cases, migrants do not necessarily have the aspiration to migrate. Nevertheless, they can do so when conditions in their individual situation, such as material income, individual well-being or family status, change. Thus, in contrast to the few studies that have looked at migration and resilience so far, we focus on aspirations, decisions and movements as fundamental elements of a resilience strategy adopted by individuals to cope with permanent existential risk, constant harassment, socio-psychological stress or other threats. Our analysis pursues a comparative empirical approach. To cover the broad scope of this phenomenon, we chose Latvia and Albania as the study’s examples. Data on Albania is gathered using qualitative methods, while a quantitative approach is adopted in Latvia.
* This article belongs to a special issue on “Demographic Developments in Eastern and Western Europe Before and After the Transformation of Socialist Countries”.
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Copyright (c) 2024 Daniel Göler, Zaiga Krišjāne
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