Beyond methodological nationalism: transnational perspectives on working class mobility in Europe

9th of April 2014
4:30 – 7:30 pm
Room C127

Migration from Eastern Europe has become a staple in public debates often with a strong negative bias. This is partly due to popular and academic analyses neglecting migrants’ needs and aspirations and paying even less attention to the complex processes affecting the mobility of workers across Europe and beyond. Original research by our guest speakers contributes to fill this important gap, shedding new light on issues of transnationalism, international labour markets and new cross-border identities.

This seminar is organised by the Transformation Studies Working Group and the Social Policy Research Centre. For further information please contact the organizers:

Dr Claudio Morrison:
Olga Cretu:
Dr Elena Vacchelli:


Transnationalised’ labour relations and its effects on Polish and Slovenian migrant workers (Dr Barbara Samaluk, Greenwich Business School)

This paper explores ‘transnationalised’ labour relations and its effects on migrant workers from post-socialist Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). By taking an interdisciplinary and multilevel perspective it uncovers on-going colonial processes that re-emerged during post-socialist transition and EU accession process.  Specifically it focuses on the role of transnational employment agencies that emerged in the region during this process and act as important intermediaries in supplying and commodifying new colonial subjects as suitable for particular jobs in the UK labour market. Finally, the paper explores how these colonial processes affect migrant workers’ use of these agencies’ services and their ‘choices’ in the UK labour market. This study uncovers the unequal level playing field amongst migrant workers on one side and transnational employment agencies and their client employers and customers on the other.

Discussant: Dr Elena Vacchelli (Social Policy Research Centre, School of Law, Middlesex University)

Migrants and entrepreneurs between Italy and Romania: delocalisation and transnational identities (Dr Devi Sacchetto, Padua University) This presentation analyses the link between migrations and foreign direct investment across national borders. It will focus on Italian investments in Romania and migration flows developing in the opposite direction identifying casual links and social outcomes. The arrival of about one hundred thousand managers and entrepreneurs from Italy has had a serious impact on the labour process and lifestyles in the country, setting up recruitment channels and forcing adjustment to new work regimes. Migration on the other hand has proved an escape route from low wage and/or outsourced jobs in Romania. New entrepreneurial subjects have also appeared developing transnational businesses and helping with targeted recruitment and selection of Romanian personnel for use in Italian businesses. Romanian migrants enjoy limited opportunities in the Italian labour market and in society a whole. This notwithstanding, they are able to develop new individualities which challenge the label of economic migrants

Discussant: Dr Nick Dines (Department of Criminology and Sociology, School of Law, Middlesex University)

Short bio of presenters:

Devi Sacchetto is a Sociology Senior Lecturer at Padua University with research specialisation in migration and labour studies. He is the author of Fabbriche Galleggianti [Floating Factories], on seafarers’ working conditions, and has published extensively in journals such as Revue Hommes et Migrations, Sociologia del Lavoro, Fenomenologia e Società, Studi Culturali and Mondi Migranti. With Ferruccio Gambino he published The Shifting Maelstrom: From Plantations to Assembly-Lines, in Beyond Marx (Brill, London 2013) edited by M. van der Linden and K. H. Roth.

Barbara Samaluk is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Work and Employment Research Unit, University of Greenwich Business School. Before entering academia, she worked for a human rights watchdog organization and was actively engaged in human rights and antidiscrimination initiatives in various European countries. Her research interests include transnational labour migration, cultural political economy, commodification processes in postcolonial societies. She currently works on a research project exploring the effects of marketization on post-socialist societies in central and eastern Europe.