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Migration, residential investment, and the experience of “transition”

Tracing transnational practices of Albanian migrants in Athens

Gerda Dalipaj

Keywords: Albania; Greece; migration; residential systems; transition

This article traces the complexity of migration patterns and residential investments of Albanian migrant families. Interlocutors built new houses in Albania and bought, additionally, apartments in Greece. While they consider their multiple residences to be an “achievement” and “immovable wealth,” they continued to see themselves as “runaways from transition.” The article emphasises the multidirectionality and multilocality of these investments. It shows that, despite various spatial tactics that migrants have successfully employed in making the link between different places, for them “transition” continues to mean the permanence of temporal conditions. This permanence is constructed in two ways: as a temporal continuity of conditions of uncertainty, unattainable futures, pain, and fatigue in a postsocialist country; and as a spatial continuity of these same conditions across different spaces, postsocialist or not, which become interconnected within wider ideologies and policies and not only through the mobility of individuals.

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