A Comparative Study of Labor Migrants' Discontent in the Eurasian Societies in the Time of Economic and Financial Instability

Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 07 (Main Building)
Distributed Paper
Natalya D. TREGUBOVA, TANDEM, St. Petersburg State University, Russia
Dmitrii ZHIKHAREVICH, St. Petersburg State University, Russia
The paper presents an on-going research oriented toward studying reality of labor migrants’ discontent in the time of economic and financial instability of the accepted societies. It starts with a discussion of theoretical and methodological framework for social analysis and methods of measurement of the discontent as a societal phenomenon. It takes as a basis for further analysis the theoretical concepts in sociology of emotions developed by J. Barbalet and R. Collins. It continues with an analysis of the field research materials.

The data and materials come from comparative field researches of the everyday life practices of labor migrants from Vietnam, Uzbekistan in Russia and from the former Soviet Union countries in Europe that were organized and conducted by the InterComCenter, St.Petersburg in 2007 -2015.

The overlapping issue in studying societies of Eurasia is labor migration. The paper tries to portrait the challenges that bring labor migrants from Central Asia to European societies. It is oriented toward an exploration into theoretical and methodological problems of comparative studying the Eurasian societies that are “sending” labor migrants and those societies that are “accepting” them. 

Capitalist inequality in general and waves of economic crises in particular constitute macroconditions of a variety of emotions. However, structural conditions of emotions operate through micropatterns of interaction. From this perspective discontent could be regarded as “class” long-term emotion that is produced and reproduced in chains of interactions influenced by structural conditions.  On the bases of sociological theories of emotions developed by Jack Barbalet and Randall Collins the paper proposes conceptual model of studying reality of the labor migrants’ discontent. It also looks at the possibilities and special conditions that can determine the involvement of labor migrants in protest activities.