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Feminist Review

, Volume 77, Issue 1, pp 7–25 | Cite as

‘Settled in mobility’: engendering post-wall migration in Europe

  • Mirjana Morokvasic
Article

Abstract

The end of the bi-polar world and the collapse of communist regimes triggered an unprecedented mobility of people and heralded a new phase in European migrations. Eastern Europeans were now not only ‘free to leave’ to the West but more exactly ‘free to leave and to come back’. In this text I will focus on gendered transnational, cross-border practices and capabilities of Central and Eastern Europeans on the move, who use their spatial mobility to adapt to the new context of post-communist transition. We are dealing here with practices that are very different from those which the literature on ‘immigrant transnationalism’ is mostly about. Rather than relying on transnational networking for improving their condition in the country of their settlement, they tend to ‘settle within mobility,’ staying mobile ‘as long as they can’ in order to improve or maintain the quality of life at home. Their experience of migration thus becomes their lifestyle, their leaving home and going away, paradoxically, a strategy of staying at home, and, thus, an alternative to what migration is usually considered to be – emigration/immigration. Access to and management of mobility is gendered and dependent on institutional context. Mobility as a strategy can be empowering, a resource, a tool for social innovation and agency and an important dimension of social capital – if under the migrants' own control. However, mobility may reflect increased dependencies, proliferation of precarious jobs and, as in the case of trafficking in women, lack of mobility and freedom.

Keywords

transnational mobility gender post-wall Europe migration 

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  • Mirjana Morokvasic

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