Date(s) - 04/11/15
3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Post-Soviet Diasporas in their ‘Homelands’: Between Isolation, Integration and Europeanisation
By Christin Hess (FASoS)
Politics and Culture in Europe (PCE) in collaboration with MACIMIDE
ABSTRACT: There have long been vocal calls in migration research to transcend the singularities of national case studies in order to enhance our understanding of what separates general from particular tendencies of migration and integration, particularly in the European context. By the same token, hardly any comparative studies exist tracing the development of post-Soviet diasporas in Europe – notably among them the Germans, Greeks, Poles, Finns and Latvians. This may be because the return to their ‘historical homelands’ – sometimes inadvertently likened to their ‘unmaking’ (Munz and Ohliger, 2003) – can at first reading appear a straightforward process: long-lost “racial brothers”, persecuted in exile, are embarking on their “final march home” to a welcoming homeland deemed lost forever. A closer, comparative investigation of this process defies any simple definitions or conclusions. ‘Post-Soviet diasporas’ offers the first systematic comparative investigation of the history of the ethnic Greeks and ethnic Germans in the Soviet Union and their return to their putative homelands: contemporary Greece and Germany, based on 5 years of in-depth ethnographic, qualitative research in Russia, Greece and Germany. It embeds this investigation in a wider discussion of co-ethnic return migration from the Soviet Union and co-ethnic return as a result of the breakup of multi-ethnic empires more generally. In order to shed light on these questions, the book develops a tailored theoretical framework, based on the recognition that the integration of co-ethnic migrants follows particular patterns which are absent in the integration of ‘ordinary’ foreign immigrants.