Life, work and religious networks of Tajik labour migrants: How emigration changes traditional solidarity structures in Tajikistan
Life, work and religious networks of Tajik labour migrants:
How emigration changes traditional solidarity structures in Tajikistan
Mass labour migration from Tajikistan to Russia started in the late 1990s as a result of the Soviet collapse and harsh times of political and economic transformation, accompanied by a further destruction of the old Soviet infrastructure during the Tajik civil war (1992-97). Currently, over one million Tajik citizens, namely one out of eight people, live and work in Russia. Tajik migrants, predominantly young men, work mostly in the construction sector, services and food industry. Labour migration has been transforming social structures in Tajikistan, influencing the division of work in households back home, gender roles in transnational families, as well as traditional solidarity structures. Until recently, social ties in Tajikistan were based on common locality and authority of elders. Such ties characterised the Tajik society long before the Soviet rule, survived the Soviet statehood in Tajikistan (1924-1991), and re-merged in the turbulent years of economic and political transformation of the 1990s. Despite that, everyday life experiences and work of labour migrants in Russia, as well as exposure to different social and political models abroad, have been changing social organisation in migrants’ networks, and in turn contributed to a transformation of solidarity structures back home. Against this background, this research looks at how massive labour emigration of young people to Russia transforms traditional social networks in Tajikistan. It asks how the solidarity ties looked like before young people moved abroad, how and why labour migration transformed them, and what happened upon return from migration - when old traditions and new views and attitudes met and need to be re-negotiated.
First Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ingeborg Baldauf