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Keywords:

  • Albanian migration;
  • gender;
  • generations;
  • family;
  • remittances;
  • transnational care

ABSTRACT.

The Albanian case represents the most dramatic instance of post-communist migration: about one million Albanians, a quarter of the country's total population, are now living abroad, most of them in Greece and Italy, with the UK becoming increasingly popular since the late 1990s. This paper draws on three research projects based on fieldwork in Italy, Greece, the UK and Albania. These projects have involved in-depth interviews with Albanian migrants in several cities, as well as with migrant-sending households in different parts of Albania. In this paper we draw out those findings which shed light on the intersections of gender and generations in three aspects of the migration process: the emigration itself, the sending and receiving of remittances, and the care of family members (mainly the migrants' elderly parents) who remain in Albania. Theoretically, we draw on the notion of ‘gendered geographies of power’ and on how spatial change and separation through migration reshapes gender and generational relations. We find that, at all stages of the migration, Albanian migrants are faced with conflicting and confusing models of gender, behavioural and generational norms, as well as unresolved questions about their legal status and the likely economic, social and political developments in Albania, which make their future life plans uncertain. Legal barriers often prevent migrants and their families from enjoying the kinds of transnational family lives they would like.