Judit Durst - Zsanna Nyírő
Constrained choices, enhanced aspirations: Transnational mobility, poverty and development. A case study from North Hungary
This paper aims to contribute to the exploration of the nexus of poverty, migration and development by providing what has been lacking thus far; namely, a close ethnographic portrait, combined with a survey, that interprets the most typical and diverging migration trajectories and their impacts in an economically backward and ethnically differentiated region in Hungary. Building on the inspirational work of anthropologists and mobility scholars who propose to recover a global and multidimensional perspective on transnational movement when exploring the nexus between migration and its consequences for development, we carried out multi-sited ethnography, both in the sending and in the destination localities. We also conducted a survey among migrants who had returned, sometimes temporarily, to their community of origin. Using this multi-spatial approach, we demonstrate the different layers of the migration-development nexus. We argue that, on the global level, receiving countries all benefit from the cheap and flexible labor of poor migrants, be they Roma or non-Roma, skilled or low-skilled mobile laborers. However, on the level of migrant-sending localities, due to the differential migration patterns of local Roma and non-Roma, the developmental effects of the two groups’ geographical movement cannot be taken as homogeneous or leveled. For non-Roma families, when men leave behind their wives and children for the sake of financial betterment of their family, there is little developmental effect on community level, but only in a narrow financial sense. However, we argue, drawing on Appadurai’s (2004) “capacity to aspire” concept, that for a fraction of some kinship groups of low-skilled Roma who mainly migrate with their whole family, transnational mobility may not be as successful financially as for the non-Roma, although it has future-oriented developmental elements by potentially enhancing capacity to aspire for both migrants and non-migrants.
Kulcsszavak angol: Transnational mobility, migration and development nexus, poverty, capacity to aspire, poor Roma and non-Roma Hungarian migrants