Diverging Mobilities, Converging Immobility?
Romanian Roma Youths at the Crossroad between Spatial, Social and Educational Im/mobility
The article investigates the youth transitions of a group of Romanian Roma adolescents with different im/mobility experiences but originating from the same transnational rural village. Their post-compulsory education orientations and development of autonomous im/mobility projects are anything but homogeneous; nevertheless, they all develop halfway between the reproduction of socio-economic inequalities and the challenge of social mobility. While in Spain young migrants are confronted with severe residential and school mobility but have access to wider vocational training opportunities, their peers in Romania rely on more consistent educational trajectories, but face the prospect of poorly valued work in the local rural economy. As for young returnees, they struggle to mobilize their richer transnational social and cultural capital as a way of overcoming the negative experience and result of (re)migration. Based on broader, longitudinal, multi-sited and collaborative ethnography, this paper aims to unveil the interplay between structural constraints and individual agency that shapes meaningful interaction between spatial, social and educational im/mobility in both transnational localities. While emphasizing the usefulness of the concept of transition to explain the processes of intergenerational transfer of poverty in contemporary Europe, we discuss how temporality, social capital and mobility engage with the specific socio-economic context, transformations, and imagined futures of its young protagonists.
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