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From communist past to capitalist present: Labour market experiences of Albanian immigrants in Greece

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Abstract

This paper examines Albanian migrants' labour market adaptation in Greece through comparing and contrasting their work and life experiences under the Albanian socialist past and the current Greek capitalist milieu. Migration from one to the other presents migrants with challenges and experiences previously unknown to them. Such an approach is necessary when researching migration from Albania and former socialist countries more broadly, where work experiences and realities were structured around totally different concepts and philosophies from those in the capitalist world. Through comparing experiences of Albanian migrants from rural and urban areas I also unravel how migration reconstructs social status and class. Where there was a hierarchical structure in Albania in the past, in Greece they are all Alvanos (Albanian migrants).

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... 37 Migrants from post-socialist countries are also represented as 'learning migrants', engaged in capitalist learning processes, both those searching for better economic opportunities and those facing the harsher reality of unemployment. 38 According to the World Bank, labour markets in the Western Balkan countries are characterized by low employment rates and high unemployment by European standards. Emigration, depopulation and deindustrialization lead to representations of a kind of 'super-periphery' in the Western Balkans, 39 while the Baltic states of Latvia and Lithuania are seen more as semi-periphery, with Estonia striving towards the status of a Nordic core economy. ...
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