• Transnational Aging Carers: On Transformation of Kinship and Citizenship in the Context of Migration among Bulgarian Muslims in Spain

    This paper focuses on ‘transnational aging carers’, a group of elderly migrants who are in constant movement between social contexts, families, and states. Drawing mostly on ethnographic research with Bulgarian Muslim migrants in Spain and their extended kin in Bulgaria, the paper explores how care-triggered migration leads to two interrelated lines of transformations. First, the paper looks at the changes in gender and intergenerational kin relations. Second, the paper focuses on reconfigurations of social and economic citizenship.

    The paper argues that migration disrupts care arrangements, kin expectations and family relations. These ruptures lead to a reformulation of the fabric of the family by straining and modifying gender and intergenerational relations and codes of conduct. This involves people’s understanding of family composition and family roles, of authority and masculinity, and of duty and shame, all of which are affected in multiple ways for the different actors in the care network. By considering these questions, the paper tries to understand the new models of family relations that emerge and the way these new models affect kin solidarity and reciprocity. Based on four ethnographic cases, the paper argues that transnational, care-motivated mobility affects future security based on kin reciprocity and, in this way, creates new forms of intergenerational and gender inequalities and dependencies.

    These new inequalities are conditioned not only by transformed kin relations, but also by reconfigured citizenship of migrants. The transnational, aging carers experience serious disruptions in their social citizenship both in Bulgaria and in Spain. They are excluded from the state welfare support in Bulgaria by migrating to Spain in order support their children’s family reproduction. At the same time, in Spain, they are not included in any form of social security because of their auxiliary status as carers rather than regularised workers. In this way, they are twice stripped from social citizenship, both in Bulgaria and in Spain, and left at the mercy of a different kind of security, provided by kin reciprocity. The paper suggests this is a move from welfare to kinfare, from reliance on and interaction with the state, to a withdrawal from the state and dependency on the kin. Moreover, this move not only affects the present arrangements between the different generations, but also entails future insecurities.

  • Return Retirement Migration Flow from EU Countries to Northeast Serbia

    The ongoing emigration from underdeveloped countries of South and East Europe started in the 1960s and 1970s. The expected significant return from temporary work abroad has not happened, not even with the first generation of migrants, who receive retirement pensions. Although the landscape of emigration areas clearly indicates that significant personal capital has been invested into increasing the standard of living in the region of origin, permanent reverse migrations has not reached the expected intensity. Instead of permanent returns, temporary migrations occur during longer or shorter holidays, while demographic decline and aging populations characterise emigration areas.

    This paper presents results of empirical research conducted with 340 retirees from northeast Serbia. Very important factors in retirees’ decisions to return to their homeland or stay in their host country include differences in the quality of health and elderly care. A comprehensive strategy for stimulating return migration is a necessary condition for increasing foreign remittances to the home country.

  • It Is Not a Choice, It Is a Must: Family and Gender Implications of Elder Care on Migration from Slovakia to Austria.

    This paper focuses on domestic elderly care workers from Slovakia working in Austria. The key emphasis is on considering the impact of migration on the family in the country of origin, on the aggregate effects of the ‘life in motion’ of women and their absence in the household. In addition, it emphasises transnational household and transnational family as a mode to maintain social, economic and emotional ties between migrant and household in the country of origin. The study explores this 24-hour, live-in job from the perspective of gender and transnationalism.

  • All Girls’ Best Friends? Care Migration and the Care Diamond in Ukraine in the Context of Population Aging

    This research focuses on the dynamics of the ‘care economy’ in Ukraine in conditions of demographic change and feminisation of migration fluxes. The key analytical concept used to study operation of Ukrainian care economy is Shahra Razavi’s ‘care diamond’, which is understood as the architecture that explains the relationship between the state, market, family and community in providing care. The paper argues that increasing out-migration of women from Ukraine entails a ‘care deficit’ in society and alters the operation of the care diamond so that the family has an increasing role. In turn, the family tends to outsource its care functions to the market, but remains responsible for organising and funding paid homecare. The paper shows that the emerging ‘care crises’ in Ukraine results from the strategy of ‘crisis transfer’ employed by post-industrial nations to shift the burden of multiple crises, care crises among them, from the nucleus of the word system to its periphery. In conclusion, the paper offers proposals to develop coherent policies aimed to cover key sectors of the care diamond, with a special focus on the market and non-profit sectors.

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