There is an emerging body of literature on the recent increase in mobility from Southern to Northern European countries with a specific focus on the period since the 2008 global economic crisis. Much of the public debate and some of the academic literature on the subject has been quick to establish causal links between high levels of unemployment and the increased emigration flows (Lafleur, Stanek, 2017). Moreover, popular portrayals of young and high-educated Italian and Spanish individuals being ‘forced’ to flee their countries have contributed to building a collective image of the ‘typical’ crisis era Southern European migrant. In this scenario, some studies have focused on the traditional economic drivers of migration that, in a period of economic crisis, regained an important role in shaping the intra-EU migrations. Economists suggest that migrants evaluate and calculate the cost and the benefits from the migration episode before they move. This calculation is based on a series of factors such as the expected returns in strictly financial terms, the social benefits from their choice (for instance social/occupational status, quality of life), and also the social and emotional costs (being distant from family and friends). However, the ‘crisis narrative’ may be obscuring other individual factors when explaining their cross-national mobility decisions. Indeed, other researchers have pointed out some “new” aspects of the phenomenon and, in particular, some non‐economic factors that affect the recent movements of EU (high-skilled) migrants (see for instance Triandafyllidou, Gropas, 2014). Intra-European migration of highly skilled migrants is seen as a possibility of (middle-class) European citizens to move within an open border Europe to take advantage of their human capital; on the query for a multicultural and European lifestyle (Favell, 2008). Individuals may move to destinations where their talent and capacities are fully recognized, in the search of a cosmopolitan lifestyle. As far as it regards migrants’ incorporation in the labour market of the destination country, it seems that new Southern European migrants are able to find better-paid jobs providing higher career prospects and matching better to their skills in confrontation to those in the country of origin. However, very little attention has been paid to exploring experiences of work of those migrants who are not able to access good jobs or face poor employment conditions upon arrival. Indeed, work intensification and precarious employment conditions characterising both the British and German labour market seem to be disregarded. The introduction of new forms of flexible employment (zero hour contracts in the UK and Minijobs in Germany, as well as an increase in part-time work in both countries) may place young people at risk of prolonged insecurity and uncertainty, reminding Southern Europeans’ prior situation of precarity in the country of origin. Precarious employment conditions may concern not only low-skilled employment, but also and highly skilled professionals (Broughton, 2016). In the light of these considerations, the paper sheds light on Italian and Spanish migrants’ work experiences before and after their decision to leave their home country addressing three key aims. First, the paper aims to explore the motivations for which Italians and Spaniards leave Italy and Spain to go to work in London and Berlin. The second aim is to deconstruct the prevalent view of Southern Europeans workers’ unencumbered insertion in London and Berlin labour market, arguing that they may face poor employment conditions and job-deskilling mostly upon arrival. Third, the paper aims to explain why Italians and Spaniards may accept poor employment conditions and jobs not corresponding to their skills. On the one hand, it is argued that this is related to a strategy to access better career opportunities in the future within labour markets represented as very dynamic and full of opportunities. On the other hand, it concentrates on the attractiveness of the life in London and Berlin in confrontation to their lifestyle in Italy and Spain, and on the way that Southern Europeans’ habitus (Bourdieu, 1977) may shape their attitudes towards work. Whereas most of the literature on new Southern European migrants draws on surveys or statistics, this paper draws on qualitative data derived from Work Package 4 of the Growth, Equal Opportunities, Migration and Markets (GEMM) project, funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The study focuses on the lived experiences of migration and explores the dynamic process of intra-EU mobility with specific focus on the individual, contextual and institutional factors that influence the decision to migrate. Informants can be divided into two broad categories: emigrants and ‘prospective’ migrants. More precisely, the paper is based on semi-structured in-depth interviews with a total of 87 people in the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy, conducted between November 2016 to July 2017. The interviews involved actual migrants from Italy and Spain living in Berlin and London, and “prospective” migrants still in Italy and Spain. Informants were identified through a variety of means: research on Facebook pages dedicated to the Italian and Spanish community abroad, professional and political organizations, online searches, LinkedIn, personal contacts as well as snowball techniques.

Dimitriadis, I. (In corso di stampa). Looking for the future. Narratves, images and expectatons of European migrants from Italy and Spain. Intervento presentato a: Etnografia e Ricerca Qualitativa, Bergamo, Italy.

Looking for the future. Narratves, images and expectatons of European migrants from Italy and Spain

Dimitriadis, I.
In corso di stampa

Abstract

There is an emerging body of literature on the recent increase in mobility from Southern to Northern European countries with a specific focus on the period since the 2008 global economic crisis. Much of the public debate and some of the academic literature on the subject has been quick to establish causal links between high levels of unemployment and the increased emigration flows (Lafleur, Stanek, 2017). Moreover, popular portrayals of young and high-educated Italian and Spanish individuals being ‘forced’ to flee their countries have contributed to building a collective image of the ‘typical’ crisis era Southern European migrant. In this scenario, some studies have focused on the traditional economic drivers of migration that, in a period of economic crisis, regained an important role in shaping the intra-EU migrations. Economists suggest that migrants evaluate and calculate the cost and the benefits from the migration episode before they move. This calculation is based on a series of factors such as the expected returns in strictly financial terms, the social benefits from their choice (for instance social/occupational status, quality of life), and also the social and emotional costs (being distant from family and friends). However, the ‘crisis narrative’ may be obscuring other individual factors when explaining their cross-national mobility decisions. Indeed, other researchers have pointed out some “new” aspects of the phenomenon and, in particular, some non‐economic factors that affect the recent movements of EU (high-skilled) migrants (see for instance Triandafyllidou, Gropas, 2014). Intra-European migration of highly skilled migrants is seen as a possibility of (middle-class) European citizens to move within an open border Europe to take advantage of their human capital; on the query for a multicultural and European lifestyle (Favell, 2008). Individuals may move to destinations where their talent and capacities are fully recognized, in the search of a cosmopolitan lifestyle. As far as it regards migrants’ incorporation in the labour market of the destination country, it seems that new Southern European migrants are able to find better-paid jobs providing higher career prospects and matching better to their skills in confrontation to those in the country of origin. However, very little attention has been paid to exploring experiences of work of those migrants who are not able to access good jobs or face poor employment conditions upon arrival. Indeed, work intensification and precarious employment conditions characterising both the British and German labour market seem to be disregarded. The introduction of new forms of flexible employment (zero hour contracts in the UK and Minijobs in Germany, as well as an increase in part-time work in both countries) may place young people at risk of prolonged insecurity and uncertainty, reminding Southern Europeans’ prior situation of precarity in the country of origin. Precarious employment conditions may concern not only low-skilled employment, but also and highly skilled professionals (Broughton, 2016). In the light of these considerations, the paper sheds light on Italian and Spanish migrants’ work experiences before and after their decision to leave their home country addressing three key aims. First, the paper aims to explore the motivations for which Italians and Spaniards leave Italy and Spain to go to work in London and Berlin. The second aim is to deconstruct the prevalent view of Southern Europeans workers’ unencumbered insertion in London and Berlin labour market, arguing that they may face poor employment conditions and job-deskilling mostly upon arrival. Third, the paper aims to explain why Italians and Spaniards may accept poor employment conditions and jobs not corresponding to their skills. On the one hand, it is argued that this is related to a strategy to access better career opportunities in the future within labour markets represented as very dynamic and full of opportunities. On the other hand, it concentrates on the attractiveness of the life in London and Berlin in confrontation to their lifestyle in Italy and Spain, and on the way that Southern Europeans’ habitus (Bourdieu, 1977) may shape their attitudes towards work. Whereas most of the literature on new Southern European migrants draws on surveys or statistics, this paper draws on qualitative data derived from Work Package 4 of the Growth, Equal Opportunities, Migration and Markets (GEMM) project, funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The study focuses on the lived experiences of migration and explores the dynamic process of intra-EU mobility with specific focus on the individual, contextual and institutional factors that influence the decision to migrate. Informants can be divided into two broad categories: emigrants and ‘prospective’ migrants. More precisely, the paper is based on semi-structured in-depth interviews with a total of 87 people in the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy, conducted between November 2016 to July 2017. The interviews involved actual migrants from Italy and Spain living in Berlin and London, and “prospective” migrants still in Italy and Spain. Informants were identified through a variety of means: research on Facebook pages dedicated to the Italian and Spanish community abroad, professional and political organizations, online searches, LinkedIn, personal contacts as well as snowball techniques.
No
paper
Italians, Spaniards, Intra-EU mobility, London, Berlin
English
Etnografia e Ricerca Qualitativa
Dimitriadis, I. (In corso di stampa). Looking for the future. Narratves, images and expectatons of European migrants from Italy and Spain. Intervento presentato a: Etnografia e Ricerca Qualitativa, Bergamo, Italy.
Dimitriadis, I
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10281/199439
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