“But One Needs to Work!”: Neoliberal Citizenship, Work-Based Immigrant Integration, and Post-Socialist Subjectivities in Berlin-Marzahn
Article first published online: 12 OCT 2012
© 2012 The Author. Antipode© 2012 Antipode Foundation Ltd.
Volume 45, Issue 4, pages 984–1004, September 2013
How to Cite
Matejskova, T. (2013), “But One Needs to Work!”: Neoliberal Citizenship, Work-Based Immigrant Integration, and Post-Socialist Subjectivities in Berlin-Marzahn. Antipode, 45: 984–1004. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8330.2012.01050.x
- Issue published online: 6 AUG 2013
- Article first published online: 12 OCT 2012
- immigrant integration;
- post-socialist subjectivity;
This paper examines how middle-aged and older post-Soviet immigrants in eastern Berlin navigate the neoliberalized landscape of work-based integration in face of their long-term unemployment. I first show how these immigrants' own insistence on the centrality of paid work for their feeling integrated contributes to their experience of collective despondency and enrollment in exploitative quasi-markets, including workfare. Focusing on this insistence, I examine how it draws strength primarily from their continued subscription to the conceptions of self as deeply socially embedded, and of work as a practice of such an embedding, adopted through their Soviet-era socialization into the culture of dispersed personhood and obligation to work, rather than from their adoption of neoliberal concepts of citizenship in Germany. Contributing to geographies of post-socialist experience of neoliberalized regimes of citizenship and immigrant integration, this paper thus highlights how some of the aspects of post-socialist subjectivities dovetail unexpectedly with the neoliberal project.