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Culture, utility or social systems? : explaining the cross-national ties of emigrants from Borşa, Romania

[journal article]

Boswell, Christina; Ciobanu, Oana

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Abstract Emigrants from Borşa, Romania, display two quite distinct patterns of ties with their community of origin: migration to Italy is discernibly transnational, with a strong reliance on migrant networks; while migration to the UK is more individualistic, with emigrants shunning interaction with compatriots and retaining only weak ties to Borşa. We argue that prevalent theories of cross-national ties fail adequately to explain this divergence. Instead, we draw on systems theory to explain the discrepancy in terms of divergent conditions for societal inclusion. In Italy, incorporation into parallel, unofficial structures of work, welfare and accommodation encouraged a reliance on cultural criteria for maintaining social ties. In the UK, migrants were obliged to integrate into state-sponsored systems, encouraging the relinquishing of ethnic ties in favour of more strategic networking to facilitate societal inclusion.
Keywords migration; integration
Classification Migration, Sociology of Migration
Free Keywords transnationalism; immigrant mobility; migrant networks; Romania
Document language English
Publication Year 2009
Page/Pages p. 1346-1364
Journal Ethnic and Racial Studies, 32 (2009) 8
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)