Ettore Recchi, Lorenzo Grifone Baglioni, Justyna Salamonska, Thea Rossi

Citizens on the move. An inductive typology of forms of transnational mobility in Europe

  • Abstract

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Keywords: Mobilities; Transnationalism; Europe; Globalization; Localism.

To what extent and how do European citizens experience other European societies? Do their ordinary lives incorporate a transnational dimension? Or do they prevailingly perform local and national activities? This article examines a wide palette of individual actions that span over national borders through physical and virtual mobility, aiming to measure their diffusion and single out typical configurations of mobility practices. Empirical data come from a sixcountry comparative study, the Eucross project, that carried out a CATI survey of 6,000 citizens in Italy, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Great Britain and Romania and a follow-up set of 60 in-depth interviews to survey respondents. Through a Latent Class Analysis (LCA) six neatly distinguished types emerged. At the two extremes, there are locals (little if any international contact and mobility) and transnationals (very active on all fronts of transnational behaviours). Inbetween, we identified four more types: tourists (who travel substantially but with little interest for long-term stays and expressive contacts), explorers (who are also quite mobile and focus on interpersonal contacts across borders), repatriates (who experienced long-term mobility but have decreased their mobility thereafter) and virtual transnationals (who are not physically mobile but have strong virtual connections abroad). These types are neither evenly spread across countries nor across social categories, mirroring inequalities and possibly national and cultural differences in managing mobilities.

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