Migration, Transnationalism, and Social Change in Central Asia: Everyday Transnational Lives of Uzbek Migrants in Russia

Forskningsoutput: Kapitel i bok/rapport/Conference proceedingKapitel samlingsverk

Abstract

There is an extensive research that explores the reproduction of transnational communities and relations, with a particular focus on locality, identity and culture. However, the existing literature on transnational migration is largely based on the case studies of immigrant communities living in the United States and Western Europe, while not much has been said about the transnational practices of Central Asian labour migrants in Russia, even though Russia is the world’s third largest recipient of labour migrants (after the US and Germany), and Central Asian republics rank among the most remittance-dependent economies in the world. Given the socio-political and cultural differences between Western and post-Soviet societies, it is rather naive to assume that the theoretical perspectives and insights from Western context may be applicable in the illiberal political contexts such as Russia where labour migrants can hardly engage in collective action or transnational activism.

A case in point is Uzbek labour migrants in Russia. Unlike Western countries (e.g. US, UK, Germany) where migrants have/had possibilities for establishing relatively functional transnational and diasporic communities, there is little in the way of ‘Uzbek community‘ established in Russia and it is a form of temporary migration where young Uzbeks (mainly men) go to Russia for a few years and return more or less permanently to Uzbekistan after being deported, getting entry ban or due to loss or unavailability of jobs. Although Uzbek labour migrants can hardly be called ‘transmigrants’, in this paper I argue that rapid improvements in technologies of communication (e.g. smartphones and social media) have enabled Uzbek migrants to stay in touch with their origin societies as well as to create some form of permanent, telephone-based ‘Uzbek mahalla‘ (community) in Moscow, which usually gathers around migrants that hail from the same mahalla or village in Uzbekistan. In other words, Uzbek migrants’ transnational place-making practices take place via smartphones and social media. The existence of such telephone/internet-based transnational environment helps migrants cope with the challenges of ‘musofirchilik‘ (being alien) and avoid or manoeuvre around structural constraints such as complicated residence registration and work permit rules, social exclusion, racism and the lack of social security. These specifics of the Russian migration regime have implications for transnational migration literature both theoretically and empirically as well as provide nuanced insights on the impact of migration on everyday life and social change in Central Asia.

These processes will be investigated with reference to ethnographic study of the everyday life and experiences of Uzbek migrants who work in construction sector in Moscow and their family members and community who stay behind in Shabboda mahalla in rural Fergana, Uzbekistan. By ethnographically attending to the experiences of Uzbek migrants and their left-behind communities, I will try to demonstrate the everydayness of material, emotional, social, and symbolic networks and exchanges that connect Shabboda mahalla (neighborhood community) to Moscow. More specifically, I will show how the bonds of ‘mahalladoshlik’ (shared mahalla origin) and mahalla-level social relations (e.g. hashar (reciprocity), trust, obligation, age hierarchies, gossips and social sanctions) are reproduced and maintained across distance, through smartphones and social media, and have identifiable impact on the outcomes of many practices that Uzbek migrants (and other actors) engage with in Moscow. This paper is based on ethnographic material gathered between January 2014 and May 2017 in Moscow, Russia and Fergana, Uzbekistan. (for a total thirteen months).

Detaljer

Författare
Enheter & grupper
Forskningsområden

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Internationell Migration och Etniska Relationer (IMER)
  • Juridik och samhälle
  • Globaliseringsstudier

Nyckelord

Originalspråkengelska
Titel på värdpublikationEurasia on the Move. Interdisciplinary Approaches to a Dynamic Migration Region
RedaktörerMarlene Laruelle, Caress Schenk
FörlagThe George Washington University, Central Asia Program
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Sidor27-41
Antal sidor15
ISBN (elektroniskt)978-0-9996214-2-4
StatusPublished - 2018 jul 25
PublikationskategoriForskning
Peer review utfördJa

Nedladdningar

Ingen tillgänglig data

Relaterad forskningsoutput

Rustamjon Urinboyev & Polese, A., 2016 dec 12, I : Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe. 24, 3, s. 191-206 16 s., 1261215.

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift

Rustamjon Urinboyev, 2016 okt 5, Migrant Workers in Russia: Global Challenges of the Shadow Economy in Societal Transformation. Heusala, A-L. & Aitamurto, K. (red.). Abingdon and New York: Routledge, s. 70-93 (Routledge Contemporary Russia and Eastern Europe Series).

Forskningsoutput: Kapitel i bok/rapport/Conference proceedingKapitel samlingsverk

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Related projects

Anna-Liisa Heusala, Rustamjon Urinboyev & Kaarina Aitamurto

2017/02/012020/12/31

Projekt: Forskning

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Relaterade aktiviteter

Urinboyev, R. (presentatör)
2018 dec 7

Aktivitet: Deltagit i eller arrangerat evenemangDeltagit i workshop/ seminarium/ kurs

Urinboyev, R. (intervjuad)
2018 aug 2

Aktivitet: AnnanFramträdande i media

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