Neglected Motives behind Migration Processes

Monday, 11 July 2016: 15:15
Location: Seminarraum Geschichte 1 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Katarzyna WANIEK, University of Lodz, Poland
It is often taken for granted and “proved” in “pure statistics” ordinary shaping public discourses that people are rational when it comes to their decisions to go abroad. It is also believed that they carefully consider multiple and complex economic factors like: market opportunities, demand for labour, wage differentials across markets or possibilities of development before going to a foreign country. Autobiographical narrative interviews with transnational workers and educationally mobile individuals show, however, that in a considerable number of cases motives behind one’s mobility are not of economic nature in the first place (hardly ever revealed by quantative methods). Therefore, the findings presented in this paper are based on an in-depth analysis of autobiographical narrative interviews with transnational workers and educationally mobile individuals who left their country of origin (local milieu and home) and live in another European country. These seem to prove that usually ignored, neglected or diminished in contemporary migration studies cause for mobility – i.e.: the escape motive –  is a significant reason for mobility. Two different modalities of the motive will be explored and defined, i.e.: (1) the “escape from…” extended processes of suffering and (2) the “escape to…” in search for individuation and deeper self-understanding and self-awareness. Furthermore, an insight into empirical data  illustrating both cases will be offered. Finally, an attempt will be made to consider some consequences of “escape from…” and “escape to…” for one’s biographical work, identity as well as for creating some collective identifications.