Conclusions

The results of our study allow us to observe that the profile of the community of origin—in other words, the ethnic and religious profile of the community as a whole—matters more than the ethnicity and confession of migrants as individuals (Sandu 2000, 11). Studies have shown that the potential of solidarity and association among immigrants is stimulated by religious practices at origin, and also by frequenting migrants’ churches abroad (S2000, and Grigoras 2000). An insight into what happens at places of destination would reveal more in terms of how religion crosses the borders along with migrants and to whether “sister communities”15 are being formed on the basis of religion or otherwise. Furthermore, this would allow us to better understand how the dynamics of return or plans for further migration to new destinations are shaped by the conditions and experiences at destination loci.

There is a wide diversity of migration trajectories observable in Cleja, one of Romania’s villages with the highest emigration rates. Destination countries include Hungary and Italy as the main countries that locals choose, apart from Spain, France, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Canada, Belgium, England or Bulgaria, which are areas that have also been explored by some of the Clejeni. Moreover, many migrants from Cleja have experienced multiple migration, in other words they have worked abroad in two or more different countries. This can be explained through the fact that Cleja is predominantly a Romano-Catholic community of Csangos, which allowed an early exploration of foreignness through departures to Hungary, and was followed by a reorientation trend towards other destinations. These destinations tend to be other predominantly Catholic destinations16 or regions where Romanian churches already exist. Although there is a debate at the level of collective discourses and attitudes regarding locals’ identity, both knowledge of the Csangos dialect and religious confession played a role in the configuration of the current migration patterns. Religious homogeneity stimulated solidarity and supported the flow of information with significant consequences in facilitating migration networks.

Even though the community is quite traditionalist, echoes of the world across the borders are visible in Cleja. From consumption patterns that are manifest at origin, to social and cultural elements that can be described in terms of social remittances (Levitt and Deepak 2011), there is a feeling of foreignness that the community offers. This is strongly interrelated with attitudes towards migration, the culture of migration that already influences the youth and the pattern of mobility that is constantly reshaped. Temporality and circularity regarding the same destination or different countries remain the primary characteristics of the international migration of the Clejeni. While the financial crisis seems to stimulate returnees who decided to come back earlier than initially planned, most migrants are connected to their land of origin in the long term through family members left at home, the building of houses and the projection of a future in Cleja. The economic reason seems the most important motive for the preference of a life outside Romania, but the consequences of this decision do not reveal themselves as so economically anymore.

 
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