Eastern Europe has seen considerable social, economic and political upheaval since 1989. Migration has been an important element of this change, with the removal of restrictions enabling individuals to move in search of opportunities. Resulting patterns of internal migration rest on a longer history of movement, linked to the communist-era pursuit of economic development and modernization. Proximity to Western Europe has seen some regions receive greater migrant flows, leading to resentment and distancing among the resident population. Focusing on rural settlements in the Banat region, southwestern Romania, this article examines how receiving communities perceive the effects of internal migration. The findings suggest entrenched stereotypes established during the communist-era remain prominent in patterns of stigmatization and maintenance of social distance. They also point to underlying tensions between the desire to protect local culture and tradition, while ensuring the continued viability of small settlements in the face of threats of depopulation.
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- Internal migration
- Collective Identity