The Promises of the Free World : Postsocialist Experience in Argentina and the Making of Migrants, Race, and Coloniality

Detta är en avhandling från Huddinge : Södertörns högskola

Sammanfattning: This thesis investigates the narrated experiences of a number of individuals that migrated to Argentina from Russia and Ukraine in the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union. The over-arching aim of this thesis is to study the ways in which these migrants navigated the social reality in Argentina, with regards to available physical, material, and socioeconomic positions as well as with regards to their narrated self-understandings and identifications. The empirical data consists of ethnographic in-depth interviews and participatory observation from Buenos Aires between the years 2011 and 2014. Through the theoretical frameworks of political discourse theory, critical race studies, auto-ethnography, and theories on coloniality, the author examines questions of migration, mobility, race, class, and gender in the processes of re-establishing a life in a new context. The interviewees were not only directly affected by the collapse of the USSR in the sense that it drastically changed their terrain of possible futures as well as retroactive understandings of their pasts, but they also began their lives in Argentina during the turmoil of the economic crisis that culminated in 2001. Central to this thesis is how these dislocatory events impacted the interviewees’ possibilities and limitations for living the life they had expected, and thus how discursive structures affect subject positions and identifications, and thereby create specific conditions for different relocatory trajectories. By focusing on how these individuals narrate their reasons for migration and their integration into Argentine labor and housing markets, the author demonstrates the role Argentine and East European history, as well as the neoliberal restructuring of the postsocialist region and Argentina in the 1990’s, had for self-understandings, subject positions, identities, and mobility. Various intersections of power, and particularly the making of race and whiteness, are important for the way that the interviewees negotiated subject positions and identifications. The author addresses how affect and hope played a part in these processes and how downward mobility was articulated and made meaningful. She also examines how participants’ ideas about a “good life” were related to understandings of the past, questions of race, social inequality, and a logic of coloniality.

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