Industrial Citizenship and Migration from the Western Balkans: Migration from Albania and Kosovo towards Greece, Germany and Switzerland


Project Coordinator: Erka Caro

Principal Investigatoor for Kosovo : Mimoza Dushi

 Research Fellow: Armela Xhaho


Involved Institutions:
1. University of New York Tirana
2. University of Pristina

Duration: September 2014 – August 2016


Short Description of the Project :

The project investigates the experience of Industrial Citizenship (IC) of labour migrants coming from the Western Balkans (WB) to the European Union (EU). IC implies both labour rights and participation of workers in the economic decision-making system via democratic institutions. It is thus embedded in the (power) relationship between workers and employers, based on the creation of structural political power through class-driven collectivism, and using this power to advance workers’ interests. The project relies primarily on accounts by the migrants themselves, trying to grasp their motives, strategies and the ways in which they benefit from migration. The majority of Albanian migrants reside in Greece, Germany and Switzerland, while the Albanians from Kosovo live mainly in Germany and Switzerland, rendering such case selection feasible. The project looks also at the returned migrants, especially in the case of return migration from Greece as a relevant trend in the last years. The underlying questions of the research are as follows: How do migrant workers define and understand the IC? How can labour lead to the achievement of the IC?

 Main Objectives:

Bearing in mind the Western Balkans` aspiration to become part of the EU, the project aims to investigate the process of IC rights actualization from bottom-up i.e. rights actualization through a process of interpretation by migrants from the WB to the EU. The project will explore the relationship between citizenship, territoriality and states, by looking both at the protection of rights, as well as identity construction, and perceptions of opportunities for participation and belonging. The particular focus will be to determine to what extent transnational work and mobility (forth and back) is a vehicle for European integration from the bottom-up perspective, and to what extent it results in segmentation, alienation, and differentiation of access to rights and participation.

Expected Outputs:

• An article on how to conduct a biography-based ethnography of migration for a methodological journal such as Qualitative Research or Ethnography. • An article on migrants’ perspectives on IC, showing its effect on countries of origin, within such journals as Work, Employment and Society or Industrial and Labour Relations Review. • An article comparing the outgoing migration and return migration, negotiation of IC practices by the returnees within Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies or International Migration Review. • An article on the role of gender in migration process, return and IC in a journal such as Gender & Society or Gender, Place & Culture. • A book aimed at a major academic press house such as Cornell, exploring the relationship between migration, citizenship, and territory, focusing on the problem of achieving IC in a post-national environment (this will be incorporated with the data and the team member of IC-1 project and it is a long term plan, few years after this project will have finished). • An official project website to publish project publications, activities, field work, field histories, photos, workshops, policy recommendations, targeting academic and policy related audience.