Laura Assmuth: Translocal life ways in the Nordic mobility space: towards a grounded transnationalism

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Laura Assmuth (University of Eastern Finland) gave a talk titled “Translocal life ways in the Nordic mobility space: towards a grounded transnationalism” in our visiting seminar on November 3rd, 2017.


The paper, and the research project it derives from, is embedded in the so-called transnational turn that has taken place over the last two decades in the interdisciplinary field of migration studies, anthropology included. In addition to integration and acculturation of mobile individuals settling in receiving countries, this theoretical framework stresses to a greater extent processes that transcend international borders, and the parallel and continuous relations that people as members of familial and other networks have to two or more states. The introduction of the concept of translocality, on the other hand, has marked a shift toward a more “grounded transnationalism” of mobile actors (Brickell and Datta 2011; Greiner and Sakdapolrak 2013). Researchers have also started to challenge conceptual orientations based on binary thinking and to create studies of mobilities in which migration and stasis (mobility and immobility), as well as local and transnational connections, are seen as interconnected aspects of the human condition (Glick Schiller and Salazar 2013). To contribute to such research developments, this paper utilizes the concept and framework of the translocal in the context of family mobility in East and North Europe. More specifically, three cases are presented and discussed: the back and forth movement of people between Estonia and Finland; migration from the Baltic countries to the Nordic countries; and the cyclical mobility of the Roma between Romania and the Nordic countries. Findings deriving from long-term intermittent ethnographic fieldwork in these contexts are discussed.