• The national and ethnic identifications among Slovak diaspora in Serbia: stranded in between state and ethnicity?

    Identity has been regarded in relevant literature predominantly as dynamic, fluid, multidimensional and ongoing process. Currently identity is viewed as a process of identification, something achieved and as product of social relations. Scholars have acknowledge that members of minorities and diasporas can have very complex, multiple identities, which are dependent on social context and which are changeable over the time. This article explores national and ethnic identifications of Slovaks living in Serbia. The main objective is to examine how the members of Slovak diaspora identify themselves, what kind of national and ethnic awareness and pride they hold. As well, paper explores opinions and attitudes on language and cultural identity.

    The research design used here is quantitative. Quantitative research method includes a web-based survey. The results of explorative study indicates, that members of Slovak diaspora living in Serbia have multiple identities, which coexists in non-conflictual way and vary in their importance for respondents. Distinct national and ethnic identifications are perceived in different way and have divergent emotional intensity. This study propose further research on the importance of a civic and ethnic values, different perceptions of identity, citizenship, length of residency and minority rights for collective identifications of minorities and/or diasporas.

  • How Slovakia Constructs and Engages Its Diaspora

    Relevant literature recognizes the significant role of diasporas in international relations and in domestic politics. It has been acknowledged that diasporas can have an impact on both the country/countries where they live and on the country/countries to which they relate. Conversely, states can have a great influence on their citizens and co-ethnics living abroad. For these reasons, the traditional research focus on diasporas and their impact on the state has shifted towards examining the role of states in forming and supporting diasporas.

    Today, most states attempt to engage with their population abroad in some way or another. There is a growing trend of state adoption of diaspora engagement initiatives and policies around the world. Therefore, the question of how and why states engage their diasporas is highly relevant in the contemporary global, mobile, and interconnected world and its answers can shed the light on state-diaspora relations.

    This article explores how and why Slovakia constructs and engages its diaspora. The topic is addressed from the perspective of political science by applying a new institutionalism approach and a qualitative research design. The qualitative methods used in this article are case study, archival analysis, and text- and document-based techniques. The time period under consideration begins in 1993, when Slovakia declared independence, and continues to the present. Slovakia constructed the term ‘Slovaks living abroad’ generally so as to include both Slovak citizens and Slovak co-ethnic non-citizens living outside of Slovakia, establishing under one label two different groups of people with distinctive identities and forms of political membership. The groups have equal legal status but different rights, obligations, and benefits.

    This article argues that Slovakia is trying to use its diaspora policies to extend its authority over citizens and even co-ethnic non-citizens living abroad within and beyond its territory. This means that diaspora policies have the potential to be a challenging factor for nation-states and the nation-state system. However, citizenship still remains the main demarcating line between Slovak citizens and Slovak co-ethnic non-citizens. The boundaries between the members of the Slovak political community were not erased, just slightly redrawn in favour of Slovak co-ethnic non-citizens.

  • Nădlac, Speenhamland: Modalities of Closure in a Small Diaspora

    Drawing on ethnographic evidence from the town of Nădlac, home of the largest Slovak community in Romania and the biggest road border-crossing between Hungary and Romania, the paper debates the impact of the newly built A1 highway upon the local community of nădlăcani. It argues that the historical attachment of this peasant community to its land, the post-1989 crossborder trafficking, a lack of local work opportunities and the recent construction of the highway, have produced a social and economic situation akin to some of the nineteenth century post- Speenhamland cases analyzed by Karl Polanyi. In line with Polanyi’s arguments, I show the modalities of closure that have entrapped the community and the vocal local reactions to this process. Overall, the paper exposes the intricate social, political and economic relations between local Slovaks, the Romanian state and the EU, on which the development of the community of Nădlac largely depends.

  • Activation (Works) without mobility, labour and structural vulnerability in neo-liberalising Slovakia

    This paper explores how Roma in eastern Slovakia navigate their formal unemployment and manage their income generating strategies in the context of state policies of activation, economic crisis and neo liberal workfare reforms. It examines ethnographically the concept of ‘activation’ (to) work against the backdrop of increasing immobilities faced by long term unemployed Roma in Slovakia. Based on anthropological fieldwork in Eastern Slovakia, the present paper will be situated within the larger processes of re-drawing lines of economic precariousness, formal/informal distinctions, insecurity, and politics of deservingness and moral citizenship in the transforming modes of governing minorities in Slovakia.

    Being officially categorized as long term unemployed, and even ‘unemployable’ in public discourses in Slovakia, most Roma combine various precarious economic strategies, welfare and state workfare ‘activation’ programmes in Slovakia and project their hopes to dreams associated with labour migration. This paper interrogates ethnographically some normative assumptions underlying discourses surrounding policies targeting longCterm unemployed in Slovakia, which evolve around their alleged ‘activity’ and ‘inactivity’. More specifically, it explores how ideologies and policies of labour activation operate on various scales and in everyday practices of those who are implementing them and those who are targeted by these.

  • Migration at the Intersection of State Policies and Public Tenders in Times of Economic Crisis: The case of migrant forest workers in the Czech Republic

    This paper focuses on a particular case of exploitation in the Czech Republic of hundreds of migrant workers from Vietnam, Romania, Slovakia and other countries who planted trees and did forestry work in 2009 and 2010. The case is situated at the intersection of state policies that interact with each other in complex ways: state-forestry policies, public-tendering rules, migration policies and labour-market policies. During the economic crisis, the state co-created a vulnerable ethicised and criminalised migrant workforce, which met the demand for cheap labour in forestry.

    Subcontracting in forestry in the Czech Republic has distanced management from labour and allowed for an unequal distribution of profits among factions of capital and labour. The public-tender chain, a notion introduced in the article, points to the influence of particular conditions governing public procurement. The main criterion for winning a contract is cost, which puts pressure on wages and working conditions at the bottom of the chain. Hidden power hierarchies often permeate the public-tender chain. However, certain moments and strategies can open this ‘black box’.

  • 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.

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