In Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 2016
This article explores the intricate relationship between Georgian, Ukrainian and Polish women working as live-in elderly caregivers in the province of Reggio Emilia, Italy. Their case shows how both elements of competition and of support can articulate the relationship between national groups that, on the one side, have in common some cultural, linguistic and historical legacies, but, on the other, have a different legal status in the European Union and positions in the Italian labour market for elderly care. In so doing, this article contributes to the debate on migrants’ social networks by pointing to the necessity of further exploring the boundaries that define people’s participation to the same circle of contacts and relationships that constitute their network of reference. From the analysis of 36 in-depth interviews with women of these nationalities, the article shows how the three groups have overlapped through time in the same Italian areas and how they have emulated each other in their migratory trajectories as well as in their employment strategies in the elderly care sector, but it will also underline how in some cases they have competed and been divided, especially beginning in 2008 as a consequence of the economic crisis.
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