The Associations of Moldovan Immigrants in Paris Region: Social Elevators or Bridges of Transnational Solidarities?

Tuesday, 17 July 2018
Dorina ROSCA, Center for the Study of Modes of Industrialization, School of Higher Studies in Social Sciences (CEMI-EHESS), Paris, France
Doina GUZUN, Doctoral School of Economics, environment, society, civilization, critical thinking, political and social practices, University of Paris (DIDEROT), France, France
Economic migration is a common phenomenon to many East-European countries, especially for Moldova. France represents one of the destinations of the Moldovan economic migration, hosting between 24,000 and 40,000 Moldovans. Most of them are concentrated in the Parisian region.

Following our research interest for the migrant's dynamics of life in the host country, as well as for the bridges built by migrants with the country of their origin, we carried out a qualitative survey among the Moldovan immigrants in France. This helped us to highlight the role played by the non-profit organizations created by Moldovan migrants, organizations which aimed to protect the immigrant rights and/or to respond to the need of solidarity among their community or between the host and the home countries.

In this context, we perceived that these associations do not fully correspond to the objective they have proposed. They rather represent social elevators, which ensure a dominant social position (within the Moldovan community from Paris region, as well as in the country of origin) for those Moldovan immigrants who create and manage them. Most of these “creators” of associations identify themselves as “leaders” of the community.

Graving around the Moldovan Embassy in France, these organizations are symbolically associated, in the social imaginary of Moldovan immigrants, with the delegates of the Moldovan state in France.

At the same time, these “leaders” maintain links with the structures of the state of origin, which provides them with the necessary resources to successfully implement their personal social mobility strategies in the home country.

Based on the results of the above-mentioned survey, we discuss in this paper about how these associations have taken away from the mission they have formally assumed (to respond to an imperative of solidarity) to transform themselves into social elevators for their "creators"/"leaders".