NEGOTIATING IDENTITIES AND FRIENDSHIPS WHILE LIVING ABROAD: EXPERIENCES OF LATVIAN MIGRANTS

Inta Mieriņa, Ilze Koroļeva

Abstract


By moving, a person loses at least some of their social contacts, causing not just psychological distress and anxiety, but also loss of support networks one can rely on in times of need. Latvia was one of the typical ‘sending countries’ in Europe, and since year 2000 about 10% of the population has emigrated. Here we would like to use the data gathered in the Latvian migrant survey to analyze how the migrants integrate into the local communities, and to what extent they still maintain close ties to their home countries; how does it change with time and what factors affect it. A special attention will be paid to how do emigrants’ identities change with time – do they retain their national identity, do they integrate also in terms of belonging and identification with the host community, perhaps it is a mix of both, or they develop a new, global or European identity? These are just some of the questions this research tries to answer. The paper is based on a recent Web-based survey of more than 10 000 Latvian emigrants abroad, in all regions of the world (including USA, Europe and Asia). The study was conducted with the support of by the ESF research grant “The emigrant communities of Latvia: National identity, transnational relations, and diaspora politics” (Nr.2013/0055/1DP/1.1.1.2.0/13/APIA/VIAA/040) – the largest survey of emigrants from one country so far conducted in Europe.

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European Scientific Journal (ESJ)

 

ISSN: 1857 - 7881 (Print)
ISSN: 1857 - 7431 (Online)

 

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