The article overviews the current state of migration studies in Bulgaria. It is argued that their deficiencies stem from the fact that they are nationally embedded, contingent on ongoing public and political discourses, almost exclusively limited to the sociological, psychological and cultural dimensions of migration, and largely operating with the concepts of community, ethnicity and identity, despite the increasing share of ethnographic descriptions of good quality in the field. The further development of migration studies in Bulgaria will depend on the elaboration of a more complex and systematic analytical framework. A shift from community and ethnicity to gender, kinship, social networks and other explanatory categories is needed. It is also necessary to see the variety of forms of commonality and interaction between migrants in order to see migration as a dynamic phenomenon. Finally, it is crucial to develop an interdisciplinary theoretical framework that would best fit the complex nature of migration.
Scope, Experiences and Developments
Malta’s Front Harsien ODZ
This article analyzes the interaction between the digital (online) and physical (offline) activism of Front Harsien ODZ, a Maltese environmental movement organization. It looks into how Front activists perceive these forms of activism and verifies how important each form is to the organization. Consequently, the research presented herein is operationalized through interviews with Front activists and through participant observation from an insider’s point of view. This article concludes that activists within Front Harsien ODZ feel that they are part of a social network. The organization’s recruitment, mobilization and activism techniques are at once digital and physical. Most Front activists were already part of preexisting social networks before joining the Front, and the new Front network made good use of Malta’s political opportunity structures, including the Zonqor controversy; Malta’s small size; and the country’s vibrant media landscape.
Labour Migration from Iran to the Arab Countries of the Persian Gulf
Shahnaz R. Nadjmabadi
This article examines migration between the Iranian coastal regions of the Persian Gulf and the nearby Arab countries. At the centre of the research are questions about cross-border relationships, the construction of transnational spaces in border migration and strategies for maintaining networks in both the home and host countries. The transnational space connecting the Iranian coastal region and the Arab countries resembles other cases of border migration. However, unlike previous studies on border migration, this analysis situates the development of transnational spaces of migrants' lives within the deep-rooted common and historical perspectives in the countries on both sides of the Persian Gulf.
Understanding Migrant Crime through the Comparative Examination of Local Markets
Immigration politics are almost universally characterized by their complexity, their ability to raise public passions, and misinformation, often based on generalizations and stereotypes. Recently, immigration has been intrinsically linked to crime, and public agendas have squarely focused on security issues as nativist political forces have successfully created a prominent image of migrants as threats to public security. This article argues that immigrant participation in criminal markets should be studied at the local level, where micro-criminal economies often dominated by migrants actually develop. By examining criminal activity at its base, the article investigates the nature of power in these markets. Specifically, it examines migrant crime in four cities and compares it to migrant integration in regular labour markets. By doing so, the article studies levels of migrant autonomy in both criminal and regular markets and argues that this autonomy indicates whether migrant crime is entrepreneurial or a sign of social deviance.
A study of transboundary town-twinning of Idiroko (Nigeria) and Igolo (Benin)
Olukayode A. Faleye
English abstract: This article examines the phenomenon of town-twinning between Idiroko (Nigeria) and Igolo (Benin). While transboundary town twinning is the integration of settlements across distinct state territories—an emerging pattern of borderland urban evolution—this seems to be a new impact of the colonially determined borders in West Africa. Despite the challenges posed by the partition of West African culture areas, town twinning has more recently turned into an established form of regional integration based on a “bottom-up” rather than “top-down” approach in the region. Using qualitative methodology based on descriptive analysis of oral interviews, government records, geographical data, as well as diverse literature, this paper uncovers the role of “borderlanders” in negotiating borders through increased non-state transnational sociospatial cooperation and networking. Apart from altering the traditional state-centric territoriality, this new development may entail broader economic and socio-political implications in the region.
Spanish abstract: Este artículo examina el hermanamiento de las ciudades de Idiroko (Nigeria) e Igolo (Benin). Mientras que el hermanamiento de ciudades transfronterizas es la integración de asentamientos más allá de los distintos territorios estatales—un patrón emergente en la evolución urbana de las regiones fronterizas—esto parece ser un nuevo impacto en las fronteras colonizadas en África Occidental. A pesar de los retos de la división cultural en África Occidental, el hermanamiento de ciudades se ha convertido recientemente en una forma de integración regional con enfoque “de abajo hacia arriba” más que “de arriba hacia abajo.” Empleando una metodología cualitativa basada en un análisis de entrevistas orales, archivos gubernamentales, datos geográficos y una literatura diversa, este artículo revela el rol de las regiones fronterizas en negociaciones transfronterizas de cooperación y de formación de redes socio-espaciales no estatales. Además de alterar la territorialidad tradicional centrada en el estado, este nuevo desarrollo puede generar implicaciones económicas y socio-políticas más amplias en la región.
French abstract: Cet article examine le phénomène des villes jumelles d’Idiroko (Nigéria) et d’Igloo (Bénin). Alors que les villes jumelles transfrontalières sont le résultat de l’intégration d’implantations au-delà de territoires étatiques distincts -un schéma émergeant d’évolution urbaine en région frontalière-, ce cas semble être un nouvel impact des frontières déterminées par la colonisation en Afrique de l’Est. Malgré les défi s posés par la partition des aires culturelles de l’Afrique de l’Est, les villes jumelles se sont converties plus récemment en une forme établie d’intégration régionale fondée sur une approche régionale de bas en haut plutôt que de haut en bas. À partir de l’’usage d’une méthodologie qualitative basée sur une analyse descriptive d’entretiens, d’archives gouvernementales, de données géographiques ainsi que sur une littérature diverse, cet article met à jour le rôle des régions frontalières dans la négociation des frontières à travers la coopération et la formation de réseaux socio-spatiaux trans nationaux non étatiques. En plus de modifier la territorialité traditionnelle centrée sur l’État, ce fait nouveau peut entraîner des implications économiques et socio-politiques plus larges dans la région.
A Critical Review
Laura Calvet-Mir and Matthieu Salpeteur
In recent years, Social Network Analysis (SNA) has increasingly been applied to the study of complex human-plant relations. This quantitative approach has ennabled a better understanding of (1) how social networks help explain agrobiodiversity management, and (2) how social relations influence the transmission of local ecological knowledge (LEK) related to plants. In this paper, we critically review the most recent works pertaining to these two lines of research. First, our results show that this fast-developing literature proposes new insights on local agrobiodiversity management mechanisms, as well as on the ways seed exchange systems are articulated around other social relationships, such as kinship. Second, current works show that inter-individual connections affect LEK transmission, the position of individuals in networks being related to the LEK they hold. We conclude by stressing the importance of combining this method with comprehensive approaches and longitudinal data collection to develop deeper insights into human-plant relations.
In Israeli-Jewish society, specific life-cycle scripts bolster boundaries between religious groups. The Religious Zionist (RZ) script calls for marriage in the late teens or early twenties. RZs who remain unmarried after this age often rent apartments in downtown locations where they form social networks. Sociologists who have studied this phenomenon among Western youth associate it with the tendency of individuals in late modernity to carry on certain aspects of adolescence into later years, thus creating a new life stage—'young adulthood'. Although RZ rabbis prefer that singles marry early and avoid this life stage, the singles interviewed in this study do not accept this rabbinical stand. They value various aspects of late-modern youth culture but, nevertheless, continue to believe in RZ family values as well. Their social networks help maintain religious boundaries even while allowing them to inch closer to a Western youth culture lifestyle.
Research on the enterprise transformation in East Germany after unification has focused mostly on the role of the Treuhandanstalt as the central actor in this process who widely determined its outcomes. David Stark and László Bruszt (1998) even suggest that this top-down model of transformation was rooted in the special institutional past of East German state socialism. They argue that the “Weberian home-land” was characterized by weak social networks among firms in comparison, for example, with firms in Hungary or Czechoslovakia, while the planning system and the industrial organization were extraordinarily centralized and hierarchical. Hence, social networks could easily be destroyed after German unification by market shock and by breaking up large enterprises into manageable pieces by the Treuhandanstalt. Moreover, the former, intact centralized planning system could easily be replaced by another centralized and cohesive administrative apparatus, now backed by the strong West German state.
Olga Zdravomyslova and Elena Iarskaia-Smirnova
Girls born between the late 1990s and the early 2000s in the countries of the former USSR and Eastern Europe are fast entering into a particular kind of social life. In contrast to previous generations of girls born and bred under communist regimes, this post-socialist generation has access to the Internet, social networks, and global mass culture. They speak in a different voice, and they raise new issues and seek answers to them.
Transformations in Women's Kinship Practices among the Urban Middle Class in Fes, Morocco
For the middle class of Fes, Morocco, the traditional resources provided by kinship practices remain an important form of economic and social support in an increasingly globalised world. Women's significance in kinship networks not only highlights women's changing role in the Moroccan public sphere, but also indicates the flexibility of kinship principles once applied primarily to men. As more women have entered the public sphere for reasons of economics and education, the possibilities for their social networks have widened to include both relatives and non-kin.