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Mobility of this type is contingent on the status of the immigrant and the distance from the country of origin. Two-thirds of Albanians visit their country at least once per year, while only one-third of the other nationalities do the same.

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Four out of ten Albanian immigrants have built a house in their country with the money they earned during their stay in Greece. The strategies of Albanians are worthy of closer scrutiny since they constitute the largest nationality in Greece. The majority of them 73 per cent who have built a house in their country of origin are married with children. They are in most cases immigrants who have been in Greece for over 10 years, enjoy legal status in Greece and have elaborated family strategies with a number of facets to them.

Building a house in their country of origin secures the option of return for them, but they also gain a higher social status there due to the fact that they have spent a large sum of money and constructed something that is a source of pride. Albanians have therefore created sophisticated strategies for securing social status in their country of origin and have proceeded to lay the foundations for achieving a higher social status in their host country.

Over half of the Albanians and one-fifth of the other nationalities have bought a car from the income they earned in Greece. As for satisfaction from the housing — mostly rented — nearly 70 per cent of the immigrants say that they have gradually found better, often much better, housing than what they had at first. This implies that there has been a noteworthy improvement in the housing situation of immigrants over the last decade or so. The critical turning point in the career trajectory of immigrants is when they become legalised, which reflects acceptance by the host society and an increased opportunity to be deemed trustworthy and potentially capable of establishing inter- personal networks with the indigenous population.

Their legal status allows them to be more mobile, also making it possible for them to have higher expectations of the local labour markets. Those who have succeeded in developing stronger, more effective, extended and varied social networks are better informed about available employment opportunities, and continue to be in a position to make comparisons and choices and are ultimately better prepared to get ahead in the local labour market.

We came straight here. They said: fine — we will find a job and they would help us — fine. And so we came here. Meftoni, female I came to the area [municipality of Vouprasia in Elia] in February I came from Albania on foot. There were six of us kids.

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We split in Arta [Epirus] and three of us ended up here. At that time, you know, we had no papers, nothing. When I first came I went to the strawberry fields. Once a year I visited Albania. There were just Albanians in Nea Manolada. The first Bulgarians came in — Bulgarians and Romanians came at the same time. When my family came, I left Nea Manolada and settled in Varda.

I changed houses. I have been living in Varda for 11 years now. Aristo, male The geographical mobility of immigrants is intertwined with the changes in their legal status as well as their social and occupational mobility. Papadopoulos difficult to single out the most important factors underlying their mobility, it is per- haps worth mentioning that the great majority 83 per cent of immigrants state that economic factors were the main reason for their moving.

There is a great deal of variation in the intentions of immigrants depending on the character of the local labour market. A significant proportion of the immigrants who work in the agricultural labour market would like to move to another local labour market. Meanwhile, only a very small proportion of immigrants working in the multisectoral labour market would like to move. The geographical and occupational mobility has proved to be beneficial7 for immigrants, who mostly say that they consider their current job to be better than their previous jobs.

Over the years, immigrants move from agricultural to non- agricultural jobs, but more importantly move from unskilled to semi-skilled and skilled occupations.

The longer immigrants stay in the host country, the more they tend to take up skilled employment. This is true for most of the rural labour markets, but the change is faster in multisectoral labour markets and slower in agricultural labour markets. As for the movement of immigrants across economic sectors, this is also evi- dent in different local labour markets. In the agricultural labour markets, the proportion of those employed in seasonal wage labour is diminishing, with a significant falloff being noticeable in the availability of regular agricultural employ- ment.

Immigrants turn to wage labour in the secondary sector, with a small number undertaking supervisory roles in the agricultural or construction sectors. Due to the sectoral limitations of the agricultural labour market, the proportion of immigrants employed in the service sector remains impressively stable.

On the other hand, the multi-sectoral character of the labour market makes it possible for a significant number of immigrants to move between sectors. In their struggle to survive or to improve their socio-economic situations, immi- grants often adopt employment strategies analogous to those of the indigenous population. A significant percentage of immigrants hold down a second job in addition to their main employment.

One-third of the immigrants are pluriactive. Albanians are over-represented in the pluriactive migrant populations. Namely, 42 per cent of Albanians are pluriactive, against 9 per cent of the other nationalities. There are two models for pluriactivity: a immigrants whose main employment is in agriculture and who have a second job in construction or services in the agricul- tural labour market , and b immigrants whose main employment is in tourism or 7 It is beneficial because it is accompanied by increases in income, in social and employment expe- rience, in expertise in certain jobs and consequently in prospects for integration into the recipient society.

It should be stressed that pluriactivity implies hard work, long hours without much free time, and the availability of employment opportunities, something more typically associated with developed labour markets. As one Albanian put it: Now I am working in a hotel. I am a cook in the morning and at the reception in the evening. I have a hour shift. Fation, male. The longer the stay in the host country, the more the pluriactivity. This is an indicator of greater integration in the local labour market and increased social status in the local society.

They are the ones who tend to combine all those prerequisites that point towards their integration into the host rural society. They generally have acquired a legal status, which mainly is due to the fact that their majority came earlier than the other nationalities, they have created a chain migration that favoured their family reunification, they constructed interper- sonal networks that favoured the acquirement of social capital in the host country, they adopted family and employment strategies similar to those of the indigenous population and they show significant motivation to integrate into the host country.

These people [the Albanians] make an amazing attempt to become Greeks. This is incredi- ble. It is incredible if one tries to interpret this by taking into account the facts. But for me. I consider this abrupt endeavour to become Greeks unnatural. They do it unconsciously. They simply have an innate adaptability. It is in their blood. Interview 5, p. I say that Albania has culture. Here we found an even better one. But we are neighbours and we are similar. But culture is. From those who have learnt more than me. And in Albania there are people who have culture. They have school. How is it possible for our kids to learn here without any culture?

We have culture. Our children have equal results with the Greek children. And even better. I have heard that. All people are not the same. Every family has a different culture. Some have less, others more. But I want to stay somewhere people have culture. In reality, Albanians have attempted to balance their past experience in their country of origin and their current status in the host country. They seek to construct a hybrid identity by improvising in their everyday lives and by putting together a number of idiosyncratic characteristics i.

I believe more in Greece because the state continues and does a clean job. And people here are more stable than in Albania. They will keep me by force? If I am not satisfied there, I will leave like.. If the birds cannot find food, they fly elsewhere. Their attempt to bridge the two identities appears to be romantic and contradictory, but also highly desirable.

My fortune is to have two homelands today. What I am saying may be wrong, but my first homeland is Albania and my second homeland is Greece. For me, both are very significant, Greece and Albania. When I go to Albania, nothing keeps me apart from all I have lived in Greece. When I come to Greece, nothing separates me from all I have lived in Albania.


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Now we are. Europeans, I tell you. Argyris, male Their settlement in rural communities is based on a number of factors that include the demand for unskilled labour, the substitution of family labour in farming and other small-scale activities in the countryside, the support of the indigenous population by providing all types of labour i. The characteristics of the local labour markets are decisive for the settlement and modes of adjustment of the immigrant labourers. The example of Albanian immigrants is important because it depicts the way that mobilities — both geographical and social — have transformed rural communities into translocal rural places.

Albanian immigrants can be considered transnational immigrants who have developed a hybrid immigrant identity that is destined to fit with a number of diverging demands in host rural communities and of different cultural identities. Thus, the mobilities of Albanian immigrants may be seen as part of the new rurality that has been slowly but steadily developing in rural Greece.

The immigrants, as a novel component of Greek rural society, should be considered both a revitalising demographic factor and a socioeconomic element that reconstitutes rural places. Places and mobilities: Beyond periphery. Aldershot: Ashgate. Bell, M. Mobilities and ruralities: An introduction. Sociologia Ruralis, 50 3 , — Blunt, A. Cultural geographies of migration: Mobility, transnationality and diaspora. Progress in Human Geography, 31 5 , — Canzler, W. Tracing mobilities: An introduction.

Translocal ruralism : Mobility and Connectivity in European Rural Spaces

Canzler, V. Kesselring Eds. Castles, S. The age of migration. International population movements in the modern world 4th ed. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Cresswell, T. On the move. Mobility in the modern western world. New York: Routledge. Constellations of mobility. Institute of English Studies. Mobility and territorial belonging.

Environment and Behaviour, 41 4 , — Halfacree, K. Rural populations. International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, 9, — Rurality and post-rurality. Migration, rurality and the post-productivist countryside. Halfacree Eds. Theories and issues pp. Chichester: Wiley. Hannam, K. Mobilities, immobilities and moorings. Mobilities, 1 1 , 1— Hedberg, C. Translocal ruralism. Mobility and connectivity in European rural spaces. Berlin: Springer. Jentch, B. Migrant integration in rural and urban areas of new settlement countries: Thematic introduction in migrant integration in rural areas.

Evidence from new countries of immigration.

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International Journal of Multicultural Societies, 9 1 , 1— Papadopoulos Kasimis, C. The multifunctional role of migrants in Greek coun- tryside: Implications for rural economy and society. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 31 1 , 99— Kasimis, C. Gaining from rural migrants: Migrant employment strategies and socioeconomic implications for rural labour markets. Migrants in rural Greece. Sociologia Ruralis, 43 2 , — Kaufman, V. Mobile social science: Creating a dialogue among sociologies.

British Journal of Sociology, 61 Suppl. Motility: Mobility as capital. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 28 4 , — Kesselring, S. Pioneering mobilities: New patterns of movement and motility in a mobile world. Environment and Planning A, 38 2 , — King, R. Internal and international migration: Bridging the theoretical divide Working Paper No. Knowles, C. Mobile sociology. Kofman, E. Contemporary European migrations: Civic stratification and citizenship. Political Geography, 21, — Lambrianidis, L.

Preconditions for the economic mobility of immigrants working in the countryside: The case of Greece. International Journal of Social Economics, 36 8 , — Migrants, economic mobility and socioeconomic change in rural areas: The case of Greece. European Urban and Regional Studies, 16 3 , — Levitt, P. Transnational migration studies: Past developments and future trends. Annual Review of Sociology, 33, — Lianos, T.

Illegal migration and local labour markets: The case of northern Greece. International Migration, 34, — Massey, D. For space. London: Sage. Merriman, P. International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, 7, — Milbourne, P. Re-populating rural studies: Migrations, movements and mobilities. Journal of Rural Studies, 23, — Ministry for Protection of the Citizen.

Data on undocumented immigrants. Mitchell, C. Making sense of counterurbanization. Journal of rural studies, 20, 15— World Bank. Population census Rural immigrations and female employment. Shortall Eds. Issues and case studies pp. Papastergiadis, N. Wars of mobility. European Journal of Social Theory, 13 3 , — Sheller, M.

The new mobilities paradigm. Environment and Planning A, 38, — Labour migrants negotiating places and engage- ments. Enacting North European peripheries pp. Smith, D. The mobile constitution of society: Rethinking the mobility- society nexus Working Paper 7. Clandestino project Final report. Foreign populations in Greece: Categories and numerical data. Syngxrona Themata, , 47— Urry, J. Sociology beyond societies. Mobilities for the twenty-first century. London: Routledge. British Journal of Sociology, 51 1 , — Mobility and Proximity.

Sociology, 36 2 , — Vertovec, S. Oxon: Routledge. Woods, M. Engaging the global countryside: Globalization, hybridity and the reconstitution of rural place.


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Progress in Human Geography, 31 4 , — Zelinsky, W. The hypothesis of mobility transition. Geographical Review, 61 2 , — Related Papers. The population density is relatively low Figure 1. Map of the study area. Own elaboration. Three major periods can be identified with respect to population behaviours: , and The first period was characterized by population loss. In this phase, many villages were abandoned.

This decline began to slow, initiating the second period During these two decades, the population increased slightly as the migratory flows reversed. In the most recent period , intensive population growth occurred, caused primarily by new arrivals, many of them with a foreign nationality figure 2. The greatest growth occurred during the first 9 years, when the international population grew from 1, to 12,, a nearly eight-fold increase.

Figure 2. Annual cumulative rate growth in the municipalities of High Pyrenees and Aran Own elaboration based on municipal population data from Catalan Institute of Statistics. This was reinforced by the relatively limited local population of active working age. The demand for labour favoured the arrival of workers from other places.

The lack of active local workers can be explained by the rapidly ageing population and the decline in the level of job acceptability. In other words, the Spanish population would not accept certain working conditions, aspiring to better pay and working conditions. Although this article focused on cultural integration, it is obvious that work is a crucial part of the process of integration, as one of our informants said. If you really want to be part of the society you need to talk some words in Catalan. Isabel, year-old woman from Argentina, speaking in Spanish.

This information-gathering was complemented by participant observation. Fieldwork was completed between and It is important to note that, over the last years, the economic context of the study area has changed notably. Since , when we started our fieldwork, Spain has been hit by a severe economic recession.

The first effects of the financial and economic crisis could be already observed when the fieldwork was being conducted. We perceived that some migrants were leaving the area. However, data show that only a minority has finally made the decision to leave. Those who have stayed have had to face new social and economic challenges unemployment, worse working conditions, etc.

This has been a general trend for almost the entire population, but even worse amongst the foreigners. The process of newcomer integration is one of the essential concerns of the nations that receive them Jentsch, The major issue is the maintenance of the social fabric when new population flows arrive. Two fundamental concepts appear in the discussion of the social consequences of immigration: joining a group with shared characteristics and integrating with a different group, the local population. This results from the fact that immigration generates contact between different groups, conditioned by historical, political and economic elements and by the definitions and self-definitions of different groups.

The cultural baggage that results constitutes the basis of the model of coexistence and integration. For me, it was very hard. Well, for them [indicating her children] it was also very difficult. Many times when I remember I start to cry. Sabina, year-old woman from Romania, speaking in Spanish. In addition, arriving in a territory with such special features as the Catalan Pyrenees with three languages 2 in daily use, Spanish, Catalan and Aranese , social and geographic isolation; high mountains; cold winters, etc.

The Catalan and Aranese languages are one of the aspects emphasized by immigrants in interviews as complicating their adaptation:. Then when I arrived, I came here, where it is colder, and besides they speak Catalan and the language of the Aran Valley, which is Aranese, and the people are not exactly outgoing. Miguel, year-old man from Colombia, speaking in Spanish. The hard winter climate, in general, was a recurrent theme and is a characteristic of the study area.

If this weather condition is combined with poor housing conditions, the situation worsens. The difficulties of finding affordable housing are further complicated for the international immigrant population. In some cases, those interviewed had lived in inadequate or over-crowded housing:. We lived for eight months in [ a village ]. But we had a really horrible winter, very cold […].

We had like one heart for all of the rooms, we put up with the cold. The first winter we spent here was really horrible. Angela, year-old woman from Colombia, speaking in Spanish. Arriving in a mountainous landscape with difficult access to small villages can make the surprise and worry more acute, as illustrated by this interview fragment:.

Where are we going? Romanitza, year-old woman from Romania, speaking in Spanish. For example, among villagers there remains a distrust of anyone who comes from the outside, meaning outside of the village or of the known context.

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In fact, many of the international population interviewed had a network of family or friends when they arrived in the Pyrenees. Very few arrived without any kind of connection. However, we would highlight two aspects that specifically affect the Catalan Pyrenees. First, the international population of the Pyrenees is small in absolute numbers and diverse in their origins.

Second, the study area consists of small villages with spaces for interaction that are few and far between, and not very diverse. The fact of being foreigners and immigrants confers certain shared characteristics:. Right there, in that little group [ pointing to others nearby ] there are four Colombians, three Ecuadoreans, two Bolivians and one Peruvian. I mean, we do have relationships with Spanish people, but less.

We get along very well with everybody. And we know everybody and everybody knows you. Just being an immigrant, you already have something in common. Marcelo, year-old man from Ecuador, speaking in Spanish. Some people saw a potential for good coexistence between the locals and immigrants because of the small population, as reflected in this comment:.

Here in the valley, we are pretty well integrated. Much better than in the big cities. Here they know the person better, because it is a small village and we all know each other. Andrei, year-old man from Romania, speaking in Spanish. The population is increasingly given to following individual standards and values its privacy more. Therefore, the social controls generated by the lack of anonymity can be annoying:.

What time you leave the house, what time you go out, what time you eat, where you go, who goes with you, who you hang out with. Sometimes, bad people who talk like that have really screwed me, really hurt me. However, in some of the interviews there was evidence of a certain difficulty in making friends, not acquaintances but close friends, especially with the local people not just with other immigrants.

Various factors could combine to make it difficult to establish deeper friendships. From the point of view of the immigrants, these could include language problems, a lack of time or an inconvenient work schedule. On the other hand, in the interviews with local people, we perceived a certain underlying sense of distancing themselves from the international population.

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Much of the international population is far from having this special relationship. In addition, these newcomers are foreigners. This generates a barrier to interpersonal relationships:. I know that I am never going to have a real friend from here. And look, all in all, I am well connected.