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Exploring Innovative Concepts

Our first public deliverable, that will be avaliable soon, explores the theme of innovative concepts, providing:

Our innovative research approach and methods are grounded in a place-based approach, and adopt a well-being framework, in order to study the relationship between left-behind areas, mobility, and local development.

This task was initiated at the kick off meeting in Lisbon on the 21st and 22nd of March 2023. One of the workshops at the meeting was a participatory session in the form of a World Café which involved all consortium partners in the task of advancing the State of the Art to develop an innovative conceptual and theoretical approach that could be applied to the work to be carried out in Re-Place.

Participatory session about innovative concepts during our kick-off meeting

Re-Place researchers spotlight new project on rural mobility in Spain and Portugal

Recently, Re-Place researchers from Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) organized a public screening at the National Spanish Library, presenting a video that introduced the project “Desarrollo local endógeno y movilidades en áreas rurales periféricas de España y Portugal”.

The project stems from similar issues as Re-Place, like abandoning populations and left behind areas, and aims to shed light on migration processes and mobility on rural places.

This study examines the different types of human mobilities and migrations that occur in rural settings (municipalities of less than 2000 inhabitants) in peripheral regions of Spain and Portugal.

In particular, it focuses on the role that new residents can play in endogenous rural development in rural municipalities in a border region (the province of Zamora and the district of Trás-os-Montes, on the Spanish-Portuguese border) and in island environments (Hierro, in the Canary Islands, and Pico, in the Azores).

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Our Research
Gendering training day

Last January 18th the Re-Place consortium organized an online workshop themed “The space of doubt: an intersectional approach to rethink knowledge production in research”, where participants could reflect on their research practice from an intersectional feminist perspective.

The workshop made it possible to identify relevant points of reflection and proposes knowledge-generating strategies that challenge asymmetric and inequitable knowledge constructions.

Online workshop participants and brainstorming ideas

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Local Human Development Index (LHDI)
An instrument to explore local differences

The LHDI methodology, initially developed by Prof. Dumitru Sandu, was used to assess the development level of more than 19000 localities with a population of at least 1000 inhabitants from the six countries in Re-Place project (Portugal, Spain, Germany, Italy, Latvia and Romania), using the most recently available data. Having calculated LHDI for each country, the following step is to create a typology based on the development level of localities in order to identify left behind areas. Moreover, the results of the LHDI computation activities will be used in the analysis of the Re-Place survey data.

The LHDI methodology is comparable to UNDP's methodology to construct HDI (the Human Development Index), yet it was adapted to better reflect local realities.


Seminar on Multisensory approaches in Migration Studies

On March 8th 2024, Re-Place member Amandine Desille (migrare, IGOT-UL) co-organised the online seminar “Multisensory approaches in Migration Studies”.

More than 80 participants took part in the discussions, that explored different methods for the collection, analysis and dissemination of multisensory data in the field of international migrations. Issues related to the Re-Place methodology were also discussed, including collaborative research and visual research.

In the field
The Romanian Re-Place team conducted an exploratory field visit in rural Transylvania

In January 2024, the Romanian partner conducted an exploratory field visit in communities that could be included in the qualitative fieldwork of the Re-Place project.

These communities are geographically located in Transylvania and can represent a fertile ground for studying the aspects targeted by the Re-Place project. Firstly, the demographic profile of the communities has fundamentally changed in recent decades due to the emigration of the Saxon minority who lived for hundreds of years in these relatively prosperous villages. Currently, in many of these villages, Romanians and Roma communities coexist, but the Saxon memory in the area is still reflected by the material and socio-cultural heritage, which is in process of deterioration. During the post-communist period, the gap between these rural areas and the nearby urban areas remained significant. Even if the socio-economic profile of the area underwent some reconfiguration, numerous households developed coping strategies related to international migration. In this context, the field visit allowed us to establish some personal contacts and to discuss with the locals about the socio-economic issues in the area, the occupation of the local population, and the types of mobility and migration in these communities.

Recently published

Ma(r)king solidarity boundaries towards migrants

Re-Place team member Amandine Desille co-edited the latest Special Issue of the journal Partecipazione & Conflitto entitled “Ma(r)king solidarity boundaries towards migrants. Individual, local and transnational experiences”.This collection is particularly interesting when it comes to understanding the relations between migrant peoples and the actors and institutions acting in solidarity with them at the local and translocal levels

As we claim in the introduction to the issue, “The relational embeddedness of a broad variety of solidarity ‘makers’ with an equally diverse range of people on the move in different settings that this Social Issue explores leaves us with a complex, yet we believe more accurate, nuanced and needed insight into the shapes and forms that solidarity can take, and how we can research it while also being part of it”.

Migration as a tool for social resilience: lessons from two case studies

Re-Place researchers Daniel Göler and Zaiga Krišjāne have recently published a paper in Comparative Population Studies 49 (2024): 1-24 journal, entitled “Migration as a Tool for Social Resilience: Lessons From Two Case Studies”.

The paper discusses the challenges faced by East and Southeast European countries after the fall of socialism, leading to destabilized living conditions and mismatches in skills and costs. It proposes a new paradigm called the "migration-resilience nexus", highlighting the instrumental role of migration in individuals' aspirations and capabilities. It focuses on migration as a tool for social resilience, examining two countries, Latvia and Albania, that have experienced long-term emigration for different reasons. Even though it focuses on the individual level rather than the territory, as thought of in Re-Place, it provides important insights, relinking migration and resilience. It emphasizes the importance of understanding aspirations, decisions, and movements as integral elements of an individual's resilience strategy in coping with various threats. The analysis adopts a comparative empirical approach, using qualitative methods for Albania and a quantitative approach for Latvia.

Poverty and subjective well-being, in European rural Areas

At the end of 2023, Prof. Dumitru Sandu published the book chapter Poverty and subjective well-being in the Romanian countryside: a comparative-multilevel approach (in romanian) in the volume “Durable and sustainable rural systems. Studies in agro-economy and rural anthropology“(Ioan Sebastian Brumă, editor).

In this chapter, the author explores two concepts, poverty and subjective well-being, in European rural areas. Based on data from the Standard Eurobarometer 97.5 (2022), using measures of subjective well-being and objective economic hardship in rural areas, a well-being typology is constructed at individual level. Starting from this, countries are then classified in six categories ranging from integrated poverty to consistent well-being.
The findings suggest that Romania’s rural population has an ambivalent position. On the one hand, according to the geographical location and development level, Romania is in the same category with Bulgaria and the Baltic states. On the other hand, according to the predictive profile of subjective well-being, Romania is more similar to Central
European countries.

Cultural Heritage, Migration and Identity Politics

Newly published Special Issue of Journal of Intercultural Studies, Volume 45, Issue 1 (2024), edited by Karolina Nikielska-Sekula and Amandine Desille entitled “(Inter)cultural Heritage and Migrants’ Inclusion – Bridging the Gap”.

With the aim to analyse the cultural heritage engagement of those who migrate, the editors brought together original empirical examples regarding cases of black heritage in Rio (Håndlykken-Luz) and Amadora (Desille), of European and Japanese heritage in São Paulo (Delapace), as well as presenting heritage as a transnational initiative, such as in the case of Norwegian-Polish heritage in Oslo (Nikielska-Sekuła), Dutch-Hindustani heritage in Suriname and the Netherlands (Sengupta), heritage in anti-racist struggles in Dresden (Müller), and the regional heritage of Europe and South Africa (Magazzini). The SI also includes three book reviews.

Cultural heritage is often discarded when analysing the inclusion of migrant groups. Yet, when focusing on participation, it might prove crucial to look at the local cultural policies aiming at supporting the production and reproduction of migrant heritage in the Re-Place selected areas.

Does migration improve the quality of life?

Researchers Alina Esteves and Daniel Rahut recently published a paper on the Population, Space and Place journal, entitled “Does migration improve the quality of life? The case of Swedish immigrants residing in Portugal”, that discusses three subjective components of quality of life after migrating to another country, hapiness, life satisfaction and having a purposeful life.

Situated in the intersection of the literature on Quality of Life and lifestyle migration, this paper contributes to the discussion of three subjective components of QoL after migrating to another country. These are hedonic (happiness), evaluative (life satisfaction) and eudaimonic (having a purposeful or worthwhile life). Based on 36 in‐depth interviews to Swedish citizens permanently living in Portugal, a group understudied in the lifestyle migration framework, three groups of individuals were identified according to the drivers of migration. Following a life‐course approach, the research question exploring in what way has the QoL changed (or not) after migrating to Portugal is responded. Swedes compare different issues premigrating and postmigrating, cutting across the drivers that brought them to Portugal. The findings suggest differences in happiness, life satisfaction and purposefulness differ according to one's relative economic comfort, standards established for oneself moral principles on how to live, and identity making projects. Despite the challenges that remain, the perceived QoL has generally increased after settling in Portugal comparatively to what it was in their home country, especially in the evaluative and eudaimonic components.

Ambivalence and transnational intergenerational solidarity

Re-Place researcher Jennifer McGarrigle, together with Ana Sofia Correia dos Santos, Carlos Barros, Isabelle Albert and Elke Murdock, have recently published an article in the Humanities and Social Sciences Communications Journal, 11, 2024, entitled  Ambivalence and transnational intergenerational solidarity: the perspective of highly educated Portuguese women emigrant daughters” that explores the way highly educated Portuguese adult daughters", living transnationally, perceive the existing solidarity ties with their parents, in times of transition, such as during the process of migration.

This study investigates how highly educated Portuguese adult daughters, living transnationally, perceive their solidarity ties with parents during migration-related transitions. Employing cluster analysis, the research identifies three distinct clusters of transnational intergenerational relationships based on ambivalence and solidarity dimensions. The findings reveal that daughters with low ambivalence experience strong cohesion, while others exhibit an autonomous relationship with affection and low ambivalence. Those perceiving high parent-daughter ambivalence tend to have functional ties with financial exchange, less affection, and consensus, particularly among older, single, economically inactive, or unemployed daughters. Approximately 80% perceive low ambivalence, with two types emerging: strong cohesion and autonomous with affection and low ambivalence. Daughters with low perceived ambivalence generally exhibit higher intergenerational solidarity, better migration adaptation, and slightly younger age. The remaining half, less acculturated and residing longer in countries with robust welfare systems, tend toward an autonomous relationship with low solidarity but high affection. Overall, the study suggests a spillover effect, where positive migration adaptation correlates with strong family relations, either interdependent or independent but characterized by good affective quality and low ambivalence.


Upcoming event

International Geographical Union Thematic Conference
May 18-19, 2024, Quito, Ecuador
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XVII Urban Geography Colloquium -
I International Urban Geography Colloquium

June 17-21, 2024, Valladolid – Burgos, Spain
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35th International Geographical Congress
August 24-30, 2024. Dublin, Ireland
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(Im)mobility in left-behind areas: cross-comparing European projects (IMISCOE Workshop)
Date to be announced

The workshop proposal made by the Re-Place consortium was successfully accepted by the IMISCOE panel of evaluators! We are thrilled to invite IMISCOE participants to join us for a two-hour discussion on (im)mobility in left-behind areas at the beginning of July 2024 at ISCTE (Lisbon, Portugal). At this occasion, we will bring together members of relevant European research projects for a brainstorming session, including Re-Place, Whole-Comm, Welcoming Places, Vision, among others. The first moment of the workshop will be a general state of the art-presentation of the research topic, followed by a “speed dating” session where members will get acquainted with the various research schemes. After these brief encounters, we will conclude with a collective mapping of concepts and themes emerging from the discussion. We believe that this will allow for cross-fertilization among enthusiastic researchers working in areas facing similar challenges. We believe this is a very timely discussion: while IMISCOE is the biggest network of migration scholars in Europe, it has only sporadically hosted conversations related to left-behindness, peripheral, remote or “shrinking” regions/locales, and their relation with solidarity, visual narratives, gender, and the role of diaspora.

The exact date and hour will be confirmed in our next newsletter.  


Next steps
Re-place researchers have recently met with sister projects MOBI-TWIN and PREMIUM_EU in order to build synergies.
This collaborative exchange sparked innovative ideas and laid the foundation for future cooperation that will soon be revealed.




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The Re-Place project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon Europe Framework Programme for Research and Innovation under grant agreement no. 101094087.

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