Post-socialist narratives of being, belonging and becoming: Eastern European women migrants and transformative politics in an era of European crises


This paper draws from an oral history project on ‘Gendered Histories of Resilience and Resistance: Eastern European Women’s Narratives of Mobility and Survival’, which is a narrative ethnography of Albanian, Bulgarian, Romanian and Polish migrant women living in Greece. The paper explores these women’s life stories, memories and experiences, in both their ancestral homelands as well as country of settlement, in order to examine the intersections of gender and identity and how the recollection of socialist pasts informs the understanding of living present and future capitalist lives. The diverse, compelling but also competing accounts of women’s childhood and early adult lives in socialist times in their Eastern European countries of origin is an intriguing way to explore issues of being, belonging and becoming. Discussions on feminism and identity are also revealing as they highlight the discourses and political projects at the intersections of personal experiences with broader socio-cultural and economic fields, in particular the context of migration and the current crisis in Greece. 

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