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‘My Parents Fell behind’: Social Remittances, Integration and Generational Change Among Moldovan Immigrants


The relationship between social remittances, integration patterns and intergenerational transmission has been the subject of several studies across Europe. This article aims to explore the complex links between migration, social inclusion abroad and social remittances between several generations of Moldovan migrants in Italy. The production of social remittances incorporates many variables: the exposure to remittances migrants had during their childhood in Moldova, the family relationships and the degree of involvement in collective initiatives. We took into consideration three dimensions: remittances’ directionality, including reverse social remittances, the role in the exchange (sender or receiver) and the intensity of exposure/involvement. Our analysis indicates that there is a difference in transnational behaviours between the first migrants and the new generation. Parents are often trapped in occupational and socially segregated niches, while their children have opportunities to develop greater social mobility and to strengthen cosmopolitan affiliations. Young people raised in Italy, compared to their parents, have more opportunities for meaningful social contacts that can be translated into innovative ideas in Moldova.

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  1. There are more and more second-generation Moldovans born in Italy but, for the purpose of our study, they are still very young, their average age being 15 years.

  2. This article is part of the international project “Moldovans in Prague (Czech Republic) and Turin (Italy) – migration and integration patterns, financial and social remittances under scrutiny (2016–2018)” which aimed to highlight the differentiation of migratory flows between Italy, the Czech Republic and Italy (Drbohlav et al. 2017a). Interdisciplinary teams of researchers worked in a coordinated way in the three countries, using a qualitative-quantitative survey methodology that involved carrying out in-depth interviews, questionnaires and a joint field mission to the Republic of Moldova. Interviews in Italy were collected by the authors of this article and by Laura Raccanelli.

  3. In recent years, the Moldovan state has shown a growing interest in seizing the possible benefits of coordinated and combined actions by migrants and has gradually recognised the “diaspora” as a collective group, creating in 2012 the Diaspora Relations Bureau and approving a national strategic plan called Diaspora 2025 to engage the diaspora directly and indirectly in sustainable economic development.

  4. According to Mosneaga (2018), the diaspora associations are playing a role in building leadership and projects capable of representing the interests of people who emigrate, to contribute to changes in their country of origin. These associations make up a complex world with over 350 officially registered groups in 30 different settlement countries; it is important to outline the process of negotiations required in order for migrants to think of themselves as a community of collective practices. In fact, these associations produce a wide range of transnational initiatives situated among the areas of charity, solidarity, cooperation and economic investments (Odermatt 2017).


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This study was supported by the Czech Science Foundation project: ‘Moldovans in Prague (Czechia) and Torino (Italy) – migratory and integration patterns, financial and social remittances under scrutiny’ No. P404/16-22194S.

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Correspondence to Pietro Cingolani.

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Cingolani, P., Vietti, F. ‘My Parents Fell behind’: Social Remittances, Integration and Generational Change Among Moldovan Immigrants. Int. Migration & Integration 21, 1097–1113 (2020).

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  • Social remittances
  • Integration
  • Migration
  • Transnationalism
  • Italy
  • Moldova