Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.780756
Title: Hope, help, duty and disappointment : Romanian mobility and its discontents
Author: Vicol, Dora-Olivia
ISNI:       0000 0004 7966 3965
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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Abstract:
This thesis sets out to explain a paradox: how is it that Romanian migrants voice a discourse of mutual avoidance and mistrust, when conationals' help underscores every level of their journeys? The argument proposed here is that, contrary to the dangerous naturalisation of Romanian suspicion under tropes of Balkanism, this sense of disunity is constructed everyday by a neoliberal configuration which transfers social security onto personal connections, but which precisely in doing so comes to turn connections into the idiom of voicing discontent. To illustrate this, the thesis draws upon a year of multi-sited fieldwork conducted with Romanian migrants in a North London neighbourhood, and in a Carpathian village. Situating their departure within a discussion of the country's tortuous post-socialist transition, I show how the sense that there was nothing left at home gave rise to the widely shared hope that anything was possible abroad. For many of those who left, however, hope was not a frictionless return to Europe, but a journey made possible only by Romanian acquaintances who were called upon, much like in the imaginary of socialist informal economies, to arrange housing, legal status, or work in the UK. It is at this intersection of hope and help, where the duty to care for others and the concern to engineer one's own mobility come to clash, that discontent also emerges. Focusing thus on the sociality of informal help which propels Romanian migrants' journeys, this thesis seeks to enrich the migration literature by reaffirming the figure of the migrant as a moral subject endowed at once with interest and affect. Looking at the formation of mistrust, another ambition of this project is to draw attention to the dangers of personalising mobility, in a political economic configuration where state-based social security is increasingly eroded.
Supervisor: Anderson, Bridget ; Dzenovska, Dace Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.780756  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Anthropology ; Migration
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