Migration as new norm: Strategies of survival and everyday geopolitics in Western Ukraine

Authors: Agnes Eross*, Geographical Institute RCAES Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Ignacy Jóźwiak, Centre of Migration Research, University of Warsaw, Patrik Tátrai, Geographical Institute, Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Topics: Migration, Political Geography, Social Geography
Keywords: Ukraine, cross-border mobility, livelihood strategies, everyday geopolitics, migration
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Studio 4, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The paper explores the livelihood strategies of the inhabitants of the Ukrainian region of Transcarpathia. The outcomes of the events of the Euromaidan, the Russian takeover of Crimea and the armed conflict in Donbas can also be observed in this Westernmost region. Basing on our fieldwork, we apply the bottom-up perspective and link the international political and economic issues with the locally observed phenomena, such as migration and other forms of cross-border activities, to describe the ways geopolitics is challenged at the grassroots level. Our objective is to show the way individuals cope with external conditions (such as: geopolitical shifts, neighbour states' kin-state politics or international labour market) imposed on them. We point to the individual collective agency, as well as the limits to the agency, of those who work-out strategies to overcome the crisis. We argue that the political and social vacuum left by the weakened Ukrainian state (Blank 2004) on the one hand and the active policies of the neighbouring states on the other, create space for the locals to navigate through these conditions to their benefit. We stress the role of individual and collective agency against the backdrop of 'powerlessness' (Blank 2004) and 'entrapment' (Jansen 2009).

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