Wandering becomings : free movement, farm labouring and desires of becoming amongst Romanian migrants in the Danish countryside
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This thesis explores the everyday implications of labour migration within the European Union. Every year many people from Romania travel to work in Danish agriculture to gain a better livelihood. Due to issues of corruption and the risk of poverty, it has become increasingly difficult to make a living in Romania. In Danish agriculture, Romanians now constitute the largest group of migrant farm labourers. This thesis therefore takes up contemporary debates on European transformations and the implications of persisting socio-economic inequalities between EU countries. To understand the social and individual implications of this migration, this thesis explores how Romanian farm labourers, along with their friends and families, experience and make sense of their lives and work in the Danish countryside. The analyses are based on 15 months of ethnographic fieldwork, which took place across a range of contexts that the farm labourers were part of in Denmark. By analysing processes of becoming, the thesis analyses the different identities that the farm labourers construct for themselves across these contexts to make sense of their migratory movements. Through these different identities, the thesis argues, the farm labourers were continuously reassessing their social and individual lives within the European political economy and alongside their migratory experiences in the Danish countryside. As such, the thesis shows how the farm labourers’ situational becomings shape their experiences of working and living in Denmark, and how the farm labourers act according to their shifting interpretations of their past, present and future lives. On the basis of these analyses, this thesis questions whether and in what ways the Romanian farm labourers' becomings are distinct as a result of their migratory experiences. The thesis argues that migrants’ ways of perceiving their becomings as part of their life transitions are influenced by the restraints and opportunities they encounter as migrants. In such a way, analysing migrants’ becomings allows for an exploration of the intersection between their particular ways of becoming and universal ways of becoming as human beings amidst contemporary European transformations.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2025-02-18
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 18th February 2025
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