PostDoc Abstract

Abstract: This research focuses on the transnational dynamics between the Romanian community in Switzerland and its country of origin. It relates to the current debate on the epistemological challenges generated by the “cultural turn” and the mobility paradigm as key-tools of the understanding of the space-time and socio-political dynamics within the post-modern reflexive society. The transnational approach, largely adopted and developed during the last twenty years in the study of the international migrations, highlights some epistemological inconsistencies and points out the limits of the methodological nationalism. The scholars looking for new conceptual tools pay increasing attention to the articulation of regional and local realities with global processes, as well as the growing glocalization of the daily social experiences. These processes of denationalization or cosmopolitisation of the Nation-States’ societies imply paradoxical coexistences of nationalist claims and anti-immigration movements with transnational ways of being and belonging in a globalizing world. Consequently, social scientists should question more attentively the national-transnational relation as well as the role of the Nation-State within these processes. In order to reflect the overlapping of the various territorial scales and political levels of the national experiences, they are also asked to change their sociological lens in order to develop a more inclusive “both here and there” approach instead of a “neither…or” exclusive perspective (Beck, 2006).

Adopting the before-mentioned theoretical perspective, this study investigates the transnational practices and dynamics of the Romanian migrants in Switzerland from a systemic point of view, by using a triangulation of qualitative methods. This research aims to understand the logics of the various actors developing a transnational space between Switzerland and Romania (migrants, the not-migrant counterparts of transnational dynamics, civil society, institutions of host and origin countries, etc). The study will show if the transnational bonds connecting the Romanian migrants with their country of origin serve long distance nationalism; or if they rely on more individual logics of social mobility and instrumental use of multiple memberships. It will also highlight the specific strategies of capital reproduction in migratory situation involving transnational practices and will question the emergence of new ways of being in a global networked social world in a digital era. By comparing two migratory waves (before and after 1989, year which is crucial for political turn in Romania), this research will also question the role of the State of origin in slowing down or encouraging the creation of a transnational social space; it will also analyze how transnational practices of the Romanian migrants articulate (or not) with the policies of the State of origin and the integration expectations of the host State. Moreover, the study aims to understand the emergence of new cosmopolitan ways of being within a still nation-state divided world. It will then try to explain on the one hand the constraints that the migrants are confronting with and, on the other hand, the new challenges for the migratory policies of the host and origin states, in particular Switzerland and Romania. Thus, this study will contribute to a new reading of the (difficult) articulation between states’ logics and the transnational practices of the migrants.