Do You Trust Me? Begging as Transnational Emotional Work for Migrant Roma

  • Oana Marcu
Part of the Europe in a Global Context book series (EGC)


Panhandling is a social interaction that mostly points to the separation and, at the same, the public encounter between those who are poor and those who are less poor. There are established and socially accepted charity practices, and begging isn’t one of them. Begging is sometimes criminalized, and it fundamentally contradicts the neo-liberalistic ethic of paid labor, seen as the only legitimate means of surviving today. By means of ethnographic research and interviewing with Romanian Roma in Italy, the author discusses how, while official discourse strongly ethnicizes and criticizes begging, this activity is carried out as transnational emotional work, in which families organize their new roles in order to respond to its contextual opportunities. Engaging with the ideas of Ehrenreich and Hochschild (Global woman: Nannies, maids, and sex workers in the new economy. New York: Holt Paperbacks, 2004), regarding the new, affect-driven economies born with transnational migration, this chapter brings a contribution focusing on the links between one of the most marginal and stigmatizing activities and migration.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oana Marcu
    • 1
  1. 1.Università Cattolica del Sacro CuoreMilanoItaly

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