Stefánia Toma – László Fosztó
Returnees and their neighbors: Migration of the Romanian Roma, networks, social distance, and local development
Migration has a significant impact on the home communities of the migrants through financial and social remittances. There is an ongoing debate about the effects of migration on local development between proponents of approaches inspired by “development optimism” on the one hand, and those that are focused more on the negative consequences. Our study is focused on the ways mobile Roma are repositioning themselves within two ethnically mixed localities in Transylvania. Returnees take advantage, reorient and navigate between local social categories, challenging them to rely on the resources at their disposal to improve the situation of their families and communities. Social networks facilitate migration and also serve as support for the renegotiation of social categories at home. We distinguish between two main patterns of network development. On the one hand there are localities where network ties crosscut ethnic boundaries and facilitate intense exchanges and communication between different segments of local society. In the other case, network ties tend to be tight between members of the same ethnic category, but ties that cut through ethnic boundaries remain weak. We discuss the implications of these patterns for the local development paths of the home localities of the migrants.
Kulcsszavak angol: Migration, Networks and Categories, Social Distance, Local Development, Roma in Romania