Migration, Mobility, Borders
The Laboratory for Political Studies has been overseeing a research project on the topic of migration since 2013. The project is dedicated to the topic of identity construction among migrants and through migration. The project is divided into several parts and touches upon different migrant groups and types of migration: refugees (in the USA and in Germany), co-ethnic repatriates (in Russia, Germany, Kazakhstan), Russian students embarking on educational mobility (in the USA and in the EU), and Russian students engaging in cross-regional educational mobility within Russia (coming to Moscow from other regions to study at the university level). Within each case study, we look at construction of boundaries between “us” and “the other” and analyze the formation of narrative identities among mobile individuals.
Two of our currently running projects include the following studies:
Russian students in a global world: from educational mobility to migration strategies?
Where is the line between international educational mobility and international migration? This project seeks to explore this question by analyzing the case of Russian students who go abroad on study abroad programs. The aim of the study is to find out what mechanisms drive students involved with study abroad programs to plan for or strategize about emigration from Russia. Do Russian students studying abroad view study abroad programs as a path to emigration? If so, what factors help to form this strategy? At what moment and under what circumstances does the re-evaluation of goals for a student studying abroad take place?
We propose to critically analyze this topic from the point of view of five different approaches to migration studies: functionalism, constructivism, transnationalism, cosmopolitanism, and cyclical migration. Each approach points to a different set of variables that could stimulate migration plans.
The study is based on a mixed methods design. First, in-depth narrative interviews inform the survey design. Second, an online survey is used to gather data among Russian students. Third, a second wave of in-depth narrative interviews helps us to take another look at the trends revealed in the survey in order to formulate an empirically grounded theory about the link between educational mobility and migration strategies among students from Russia.
New borders, new identities? A study of mobile young people in Russia
In 2014, the Russian Federation changed its political borders to include the Crimean peninsula. The following year, Russian universities implemented a new quota-based system made especially to simplify the application and enrollment process for Crimean students wishing to study in Russia. How do these young people perceive the border change? This project aims to analyze young Crimeans’ “everyday geopolitics.” The project is based on a series of qualitative interviews with students who have come to Moscow from Crimea to study at the university level.
The study is based on biographical methods, qualitative interviewing, critical discourse analysis, and narrative analysis.
Keywords:migration, mobility, adaptation, narrative identity, youth, education
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