Globalizing 'Postsocialism:' Mobile Mothers and Neoliberalism on the Margins of Europe Author(s): Leyla J.

Keough Reviewed work(s): Source: Anthropological Quarterly, Vol. 79, No. 3 (Summer, 2006), pp. 431-461 Published by: The George Washington University Institute for Ethnographic Research Stable URL: . Accessed: 05/05/2012 20:03
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Globalizing 'Postsocialism:'
Mobile the on Mothers and of Neoliberalism



Leyla Keough J.
Amherst University Massachusetts, of

has labor migration In recentyears, women'stransnational from Moldova considerable and fromfamilieshasprovoked exponentially theirabsence grown Fewscholars postsocialist in of anxietyovertransformations the socialorder. who labor.Those have stateshaveexplored transnational focuson hownewecobecause are nomicpractices as trading anxiety-ridden such theyindextransfornor havenotdetailed to These mations fromsocialism "postsocialism." scholars andstates nature migrant theorized gendered the labor, representations it, of of researchand interviewswith Gagauz to it. Using ethnographic responses in and as womenwhotravelto work domestics Turkey their Moldovan migrant in a this of compatriots Moldova, paperillustrates discourse blamethat village one to the socialorder," complicated the as by employs tropeof "mothers key This notionsof socialism, work, wealth,and rurality. trope sexuality, ethnicity, and laborers socialdisorder in for playsa keyrolein blaming femalemigrant own genfor migrants' justifications goingabroad.I arguethat the migrants' thatalignswithglobaland a dered constitute newmoraleconomy justifications on rationales. Moldovan neoliberal state feministand anthroDrawing a broad claims about "postsocialist" pologicalliterature,this article problematizes

Mobile Mothers Neoliberalism the Margins Europe and on of 'Postsocialism:' Globalizing

laborexperiences specifying transnational themin termsof otheroverlapby Inso doing,it shiftstheanthropological particularly gender. pingsubjectivities, in to gazefroma narrow focuson "postsocialism"thisregion identify problems that and processes globalization hold widersignificance questions and our of "third of categorizations statesinto"postsocialist," "postwelfare," world," "global south," transnaand/or"postcolonial." words: socialism, post-socialism, [Key tionallabor, women,Moldova, migration, Gagauz, Turkey, Russia]

n the pastfive years,labormigration fromMoldova, knownas the "poorhas est nation in Europe," increasedto stunningproportions. Statistics thatanywhere but indicate fromone-fourth one-third the populato of vary, tion worksabroad,includinghalf of the workingpopulation(GRP 2004, World Bank While mostmigrants mentraveling are to 2004,2005, IOM 2005). it transnational laborandtheirabsencefromfamiliesand Russia, is women's considerable in anxietyovertransformations the villagesthat has provoked social order.Konstantinov (1996)and Humphrey (2002)are two of the few of stateswho haveexplored scholars postsocialist transnational laboractiviand ty.' In particular, they focus on tourist-traders show most clearlyhow such new economic practicesare anxiety-ridden because they index the from transformations socialism postsocialism newformsof capitalism. to or also analyzesthe ethnic dimensionsof this trade. Whileit has Humphrey been recognized womenare increasingly that in participating suchtransnationalactivities, haveneitherdetailednortheorized genthe anthropologists derednatureof migrant laborin this region,localideasabout it, and states' to on Moldovan womenwhotravresponses it.2 Focusing the case of Gagauz el to workas domesticsin Turkey, paperexploreshow anxietiesover this transformations manifestin the 'talk'that circulates are political-economic about women'stransnationallabor migration.Drawing ethnographic on in I research Moldova Turkey,3lookat how narratives and aboutthe mobility of mothersrevealanxietyabout a genderedsocialorderand how these anxietiesare expressedand contested by migrantwomen themselves.In in these accounts,blameforsocialdisorder Moldova placeduponmigrant is those who chooseto workin Turkey, are representwho women-especially ed as irresponsible mothers,immoral wives,and selfishconsumers. Migrant
women themselves counter that local disorder and their migrant labor is caused by economic dislocation. They argue that in going abroad to work, they are selflessly sacrificingfor their children and thus are more resourceful 432

The literatureis separated into works on "postcolonial feminism.5Inthe postsocialism" case of Eastern and a Europe the formerSovietUnion(FSU). its concernwith global and state neoliberaltrends.LEYLAKEOUGH J.they are constructing new moraleconomy-a new a of organizing understanding responsibilities. interpreting ciallyabout motherhood-are a particularly poignantway macro-transformationsare takingroot in individual lives.Inso doing. theirlives.4 it is clearthat ideasabout gender-espeHere. and the and way rights.Through illuminating we can betterjudgethe effectsof political-economic transjectiveaccounts." south. illustrate I these genderedjustifications migrant of laborby mobilemothersthemselvesto show how they align insidiously with rationales neoliberalstate practices-a for new kindof governance excusesstate retraction that fromsocialand job-creation servicesand places more responsibility individuals providefor on to themselves."and "gender and that speakof ostensiblydifferentstates and women." "third worldwomen"or "womenfromthe global south. formationson women and advanceour understanding how people are of such changes." world. richliterature attends to the effects on women of the fall of state socialism and how ideas about gender play a powerful role in politics-whether socialist or postsocialist.Drawing a broadfeministand anthropological on this literature.These the sametropeof "motherhood the keyto socialorder" as migrants employ ideas about Turks. tionsof migrant mobilemothers insisting a newsocialorderfor are on labor. shiftsthe anthropological froma narrow focuson "postsocialism" this in gaze to identifyproblems and processesof globalization that hold wider region In significance. citizens." "third and/or"postcolonial.6Yet. Moreover. articleproblematizes claimsabout"postsocialist" transnational labor general them in termsof otheroverlapping practices specifying by parsubjectivities. through as their practices justificaand Yet." "global Whilethe literature postsocialism grownexponentially recent on has in little has years. the similarities of the plight of postsocialist women with women 433 . Thisconcernwith genderand migrantdomesticworkers ticularlygender.and togetherwith disapproving and positivenotions of a ruralwork ethic and conspicuousconsumption Russia theirvillagecompatriots." of questions "postwelfare.uncontainedsexuality. and bettermothers(even if transnational ones)than those who stay. it also our categorizations states into "postsocialist. Theabsenceof this dialogueis especiallynoticeablein studiesof gender.surprisingly scholarship drawnon the parallelsbetweenthe situationin third worldand postcolonialstates and those in postsocialist ones. and such subconsumers. entitlementsof workers.

Theexample of migrantdomestics from Moldovailluminateshow political-economic processesin these disparateregionsare in fact very similarand thus how our categorization statesare problematic.Westernstates) have been left This socialistand under-conceptualized. race.Mobile Mothers Neoliberalism the Margins Europe and on of 'Postsocialism:' Globalizing in other types of states (besides. of In the narratives follow. As Abu-Lughodreminds us."as Ehrenreich and Hoshschild call all poor womenwho migrateto workabroad(2003). and citizenship positionalities (1999.Indeed. ethnic.promptedNancyFraser posit to our contemporary conditionas less "postcolonial" commonly"postsothan cialist"(1997).but of Eastern and whose Europe remittances serveto keepstates in all of these regionsafloat.Gagauz that women detail changingconditions familiarto "globalwomen. notedis the coincidence postsocialto Less of ist and postwelfare and the convenience encouraging of neoliberprocesses alism in a regionof collapsedstates. While fem"states. postsocialist ones. who are now a commonexportnot only of the Southand Southeast Asia.It is exceedingly clearthat we need such a commonglobal analyticto frame the political-economic dynamicsof migrantdomestics." they speakto different inist scholarsinsistthat we look to women'sown perspectives experiand ences for a morenuancedunderstanding the complexities changeand of of the multipleeffectsand contradictions generatedby economictransitions. in this case. effect in anthropology has been an interestin drawing localcommentaries meanings out and assowith "transitions" ciated (albeit uneven. literature comparesand contrasts states to welfarestates in Europeand the UnitedStatesand postsocialist thus seems still confinedto cold-war The any simple way. The withstate retraction transformations fromsocialwelfarenotonly associated in the Westand its margins. with the cases detailed in As Ehrenreich Hochschild's and of women volume. Central and SouthAmerica.their migration simis resultof economicdeclinecausedby policiesassociated withecoilarlythe nomic globalizationand restructuring. to. women's subjectivities themselves are multidimensional and involve the "multiple subjugations"of gender. uncertain. see also McClintocket al 434 .and nonlinearones) fromsocialism postsocialism.tellingly. mightenvisionthis migration We then as of.the labormigration Gagauz also cannotbe viewedas simplyhavingimproved worsened or stawomen's tus and helped or hurt communities.but globally. class.Suchmigrations some continuitiesin local may promptsome changeswhile also justifying socialand economicstratification. creatingcertainspacesfor the maintenance resistance or changeof normsand structural conditions. and Africa.

BAlti NO Orhei 0 S Dubdsari N Ungheni ? Chisinau NII - Hincesti Bender ' Cdfuseni Cahul Taracli2 Republic of Moldova International boundary 0 National capital Vulanesti ' Populated place 50 Kilometers 25 ?v' - 0 0 25 50 Miles . xviii).Gagauzia) is not geographically contiguousand contains spaces of territoryaroundthree semi-urban centers (here marked in Romanian:Comrat. still vies for sovereignty. Ciadir-Lunga.leaving a whole third of the Moldovan state's bordersunmonitoredby internationally recognizedlegal institutions. The Sovietscombined the Bessarabian region east of the Prut Riverwith land east of the DnesterRiver(Transnistria) create the new Moldovanstate after to World WarIIand these bordersstill stand.LEYLAKEOUGH J.a .or as it is referredto in this paper. and in from King2000. p.the Dnester MoldovanRepublic.A regionknownas Moldavia remained to the west of the Prutin Romania. EdinetM 9R Soroca I Rtbnita .On Moldova's eastern border. Gagauz Yeri(Gagauz Land.. Vulcanesti) SouthernMoldova (Map 435 .

complicating Whatwe find in their narratives that is ences as 'postsocialist' subjects. It shows how community who blamemigrant women members womenfor localdisorder migrant and their laborsabroadas the keyto a new orderare guided by the justifying that all is the same in same genderedlogics.ask how "postsocialist" In their new capitalistpractices. Yet.age. who look to transnationaleconomic of Ethnographers postsocialism in the I see it. whomthe Gagauz and this labortakesplaceamongTurks toward declarelittle connection.mostoften. and loudly. the varied transformations still ambiguously here. time is ripeto ask:Whatreallyhas come next?8 the This article reframes these concerns by detailing how new moral economies in GagauzMoldovaare affected by and coincide with global neoliberal processes and structures of oppression. This paper contemplatesthe gendered nature of this transnational labor and the anxietyaround it. that coincides with their language. is still not considered goingabroad). These identitiesconditionthe variouseffects of political-economic transformations women and inform women's perspectiveson these on and expandingour understanding their experiof changes. concerned in are with exploring from a known socialist past to the present.what with migrantlaborwas individuals whom I spokevoicedas the problem to women and their communities that motherswere engaged in it. Slavic.Russian Orthodox. however.if ever. fall of communism. I stayattunedto this point by describing particularities these women's identities-as formerlysocialist. as " others in postsocialist literature anthropology. reaor that thingsare not changingin Gagauzia. but also as Gagauz.15 yearsafterthe marked.but for a numberof other reasons:It ruraland agricultural involvesmigration a cityof a predominantly to popuit is a transnational for people who rarely. are constructing new moraleconomy. and workexperiences.7 Migrant understandtransnationalmigrationin Moldovain moralterms that are highly gendered. activity in SovietUnion(goingto Russia. to ity to trace how states are responding new trading.Theseworks. left the with trading. I end by speculating on how these struc436 .Mobile Mothers Neoliberalism the Margins Europe and on of 'Postsocialism:' Globalizing the of 1997).Russianand womenholdingparMoldovan. migrantlaboris anxietyriddennot only becauseit is engagesthem in capitalist laborforms. migrants' Moldova In a sonings. such as Konstantinov practices (1996) and envision Humphrey subjectsand migrants (2002). fact.Thisit is not to say." Now. Humphrey's she also looksto ethniccase. rural speaking in ticularpositionalities termsof wealth.

MostGagauz howpeopleand historians.prompting themto shifttheir from providing and socialservicesto their population policypriorities jobs to supporting as migration a routeto development.LEYLA i. Russians and Romanians fought over Bessarabia. differencefrom both Muslim of Turks Turkey and ever. Macedonia. Manyelderly 437 . Whileretaining theirGagauz as they took on the Russian language. Gagauz a predominantly population are rural of Christian Orthodox Thereare about 160-170. as a result.including the region in which the Gagauz resided. In Moldovaand Eastern it is widelyacknowledged Gagauz that fromBulgaria the in Europe. was at leastfromthis period that Gagauz aligned themselves with Russians against ethnic Romanians in the region. wherethe Russians offeredthem land privileges. In the 19th century. in and but Gagauz Moldova. discussing representations politics these migrant is important contextualize specificity the Gagauz to the of Moldovan and case women'smigrationrespondsto commonglobal conditionsof how Gagauz The economicrestructuring. this definition who converted fromIslamto Christianity the Ottomans after retreated from the the regionduring 19thcentury.000mostlyin Bulgaria. not Muslim most and as are Turkic-speakers. migrated 19th centuryand.on this basis. assertthattheywereshamanistic populations migrated fromCentral directly Bulgaria to Asia (thatthey did not passthroughTurkey and were neverMuslim) then mixedwith local Slavicpopulations who and converted fromShamanism Orthodox to Either in the 19th Christianity. as and well as in Romania. Greece.Howa Turkic-speaking population found itself here and why they are Orthodox. also in small communities scatteredin Ukraine and other formerSovietstates. throughRomania Bessarabia (current-day see Map). assumesthattheywereTurkish Muslim Ottomans Yet. emphasizeGagauz who They Bulgarians. is popularly believedthat they are TurkicInfact. century.Gagauzmigratedfrom Bulgaria Christians. GagauzWomen'sMigrationto Turkey:Neoliberalism Greets Postsocialist Collapse the Before and of it laborers. another50-80. KEOUGH tureshaveinfluenced Moldovan state policies.000 Turkic-speaking peoples. language well and allied themselves with the RussianOrthodoxPatriarchate opposed to the (as or Orthodox It Bulgarian Romanian churches). as nationalist conflicts movements. much-contested questions. the Balkans experienced among Orthodox and Ottomanretreat.Gagauz allowedBulgarian are citispeaking Bulgarians. to and Moldova partsof Ukraine. zenship.

Gungor in those livingin GagauziaLike otherpopulations post-soviet Moldova.In this context." yet try-heavy Withthe fall of socialism and SovietSocialistRepublic.both men and womenin havebeenleft unemployed are and and moregenerally. mobility takingadvantage Thesepostsocialist neoliberal and have playedout in the gendynamics dered division of migrant labor in Gagauzia. Gagauziais a rural society.yet in ways not entirely unfamiliar to cases of migrant labor from non-postsocialiststates. the of Moldova(see Map). tongues.In 1995. King 2000).based mostlyupon the harvestingof grapesfor wine. of whomspeakprimarily et some of whomalso have"native" (Erden al 1999. Gagauz. in Moldova to of theirnewlyacquired to go abroad work. Ukrainians. Russian Sovietsprevailedin this regionafter World WarII and createdthe the Moldovan Socialist whichnowconstitute current borders Soviet Republic.As a borderof the USSR. Whilethe initialseverity this crisiswas postsocialist origin.a Gagauzautonomy movement asserteditself. and women in particular-wereseverelyaffectedby an economiccrisisin in Soviet 1998-9. state in and exportmarket the formerSovietUnioncollapsed. Russian-dominant. perspective. 2004. relocatedRussian-speaking fromother partsof the USSR populations and TheGagauz regionin the southand the mostlyRussian-speaking indusin Transniestria the east were key to the new "multi-ethnic. Soviets The instituted Cyrillic a ulation ethnically alphabet there. and all and Russian.these effectshavedeclinedin recentyears. Sovietsupheldthe the factthat muchof itspopMoldovan as distinct SSR fromRomania. currency sphere. Some agricultural 438 . structural adjustment policies the fromjob creationand socialserviceprohave supported state'sretreat gramsthat had alreadycollapsed.Wheneconomiccollapsein Russia reverberated the former their main the value of Moldovan declinedprecipitously. Fromthe Gagauz then.likethe Gagauz &Argunsah Radova 2002. Gagauz languagerightswere securedand Gagauzia Whileplaguedbythe statusas an autonomous acquired regionof Moldova. despite and was Romanian. after 1989 and as ethnic-Romanian Moldovans Sovietcontrolin Moldova ruminatedover mergingwith Romania. the Moldovan or welfarebenefitsto its citifounditselfno longercapableof paying wages in of zens. has conflictscausedby its Sovietorigins. Gagauzia.Mobile Mothers Neoliberalism the Margins Europe and on 'Postsocialism:' of Globalizing for Gagauz people cite harshconditions their communities duringinterwar it was reliefwhen the Romanian rule.Moldova becomean independent a diverse to and statethatcontinues tryto incorporate culturally linguistically of a bit over four million people-65% ethnic Romanian population (who and speak Romanian/Moldovan) 35%other ethnicitiesincludingRussians.Yet.

women in the in Gagauzia during Sovietera workedprimarily suchstatesectorjobsand also may havebenefitedmostfromthe free schooling.would particular populations assertthat these dynamics reflected the Gagauz are in case. and caring for their children.du Plessix 1989.but the considerably is thatthe state. cleaning.manyof these jobs remain. Villages stateand private andsome remaining kolhoz struchospitals. men bothworkto support their households.Homesin the urbanareado havegas for heat.As in other socialiststates.althoughto describethem as dilapidated aroundComrat. where I did my one and conditions dire. but also as repro439 . of the urbancentersof Gagauzia. alwayscome throughon their promisesfor women (see.LEYLAKEOUGH J. moped/motorcycle. a car). nowthatservices suchas healthcareand education no are keep. While thesedatado notspecify I withinMoldova.80% the Moldovan (per livedunderthe poverty has line. in notethatbecause scholars Many state socialismtargetedservicesto women in particular. GRP 2004). women working schools. familiesworktogetherto keep animals andgrowtheirownfoodforsubsistence.In 1999.and schools. but most villagersheat their homes with peat burnedin stoves. Even whileworkfor ing (sometimes manyjobs). oftenhavetheirownschools. Rural and urbanhomesalikedo not haveregular water.Mostwomen makeabout care centers.whilescaledback Gray afterthe fall of socialism. are fieldwork. state socialism in EasternEuropeupheld women as "worker-mothers.when it does paythem (andin 1999thereweresix problem monthswhen they did not get paid)does not paythem helpof remittances population this shiftedto 36%in recentyears(World Bank2004 and 2005.Moreover. shops.Roads rarely are running paved. Indeed.In and tures. they may be they hardest byitswithdrawal.Traditionally. the Gagauz In that I traveled womenand villages through.Ries 1994.churches. a or (either but most travelby informally or that traverse hitchhiking by the minibuses southernMoldova. costs for livinghave increased. Women workalongsidemen in the fieldsand manyholdjobswithstateinstitutions the villagesuchas hosin pitals. is of US$30-$50/month capitaGNP US$710). Somepeoplehavevehicles muledrawn.and hospitals Gagauzia in in feel to and for compelled offertheirownwagesforsupplies freelabor building upTotop it off. individuals workon collective farmsin this capacity mostfamilieshave and their own small plots.Scott1974).Inthe Gagauz case.and day careprovided thesesitesfortheirchildren. for instance. it is also pointedout thatthe Soviets not hit did carecenters. would be generous.womenstill holdprimary responsibility household labor such as cooking." Women were expected to fulfill their roles as producersfor the state.

Whilesome women participate trade and sex workas well.McClintock (see.Gagauz similar thatof womenin postcoloto situation actually is women's postsocialist nial and thirdworldliterature for instance. elderly. may Europe.including sex workabroadas pettytraders. the laboris usuallylow-paid for the secondhighestnumbers of available a few months. As a result. For has becomethe sechowever. support theirhouseholds. the Gagauz in womenIwriteof hereare employed highly-valued as domestics caretakand ers of children. speakerslikethe Gagauz.but also becauseof language skillsin the case of Turkic "care criFurthermore.Mobile Mothers Neoliberalism the Margins Europe and on of 'Postsocialism:' Globalizing ducersof the nation(see.whathascome to be knownin the literature the "feminizaas tionof poverty. Verdery 1996). laborhasbecomea wayof life in Gagauzia. Gagauz morereadily womenoftengo therealoneto work. has becomea receiver migrants of Turkey (ofgasterbeiter the formerSovietand socialistspheremostlybecauseof the ease and low costsof illegalentryand illegalwork. but it is very expensiveto fund these trips and difficultto enter "fortress is Europe. temporary and domestic While the workers. this too.Mills(2003)." of to Because suchprocesses. MostMoldovans-especially to Russia a result." Language also a decidingfactor.After Russia. Turkey's sis" has promptedhigh demand for migrantdomesticworkersfrom the and other nations. only find Moldovan migrants to Italy-where ethnic-Romanians highwages got anda similarlanguage. Turkey. the Gagauz. many the "flexible" labors poorwomenaround worldhavebeenforcedintoinformal of all kinds.and more recentlyand in largernumbers.Scholars and such as Ehrenreich Hochschild (2002).the numbers of Gagauz women going to Turkey parallels or even exceeds the 440 . than menand. Turkey ond mostattractive "sender" nation option.and Sassen(2000) thatsuchcrisesin political economic and conditions mostnotably explain (and economicrestructuring fiscalreforms and Bankand promoted the World by to an increasingly burden womenglobally support place heavy uponpoor IMF) theirfamilies.It is inexpensive go thereand routesarewell to to men-go but construction workand oftenis established.Thisrole is no lessof a In dual burden now for women in Gagauzia. Philippines from Eastern and In womenthus findjobs Europe the FSU.Whilebetterknownas a migrant from to Germany). workers. of acknowledging specificity the postsocialist case it is crucial recognize these globalneoliberal that are to conditions also the of shaping needfor migration womenfromGagauzia. menandwomen Both Migrant fromGagauzia wantto go to Western wherewagesare higher.for instance. 1997). or the sick in Turkish households for at least US$400/month-over 10 times what they can make at home. however.

time are are off. after which fines double. are finesaccording the amountof timethey haveoutto Overstayers charged for six stayedtheirvisas. who workedas domesticstold me that once they learnedthe routes. times.Withthe Turkey any visa for the periodof time they overstay of illegaltransnational often find waysaroundthese services. and payingfor theirvisas. Sometimes couple leavestheir childrenin the care of the grandparents the or they alternatetheir migrantlaborso that one of them is home with the kids.givingthe womentheirown rooms. begin agent or employer they to handle their own travel and employmentarrangements.go to Turkey workas domesticsfor six monthsat a time.fundingtheirtrips. It is difficultto judge officiallythe numberof at sincetheirillegalmovements not generally are detectedand many migrants but go backand forthfrequently.migrants help In barriers. age.10 severalwomen and Yet.At months.9 Moldovan can migrants any ethnicity) gain entryas touriststo Turkey (of and stayfor one monthwith possibleextensionsof anotherthree months. Others less generstill others. 441 .to runa Gagauz wivesand mothers. fact.costs. and founda good employment withinTurkey.Femalemigrantlaborhas in some wayssupported continuity the of Gagauzvillages and local stratificationin terms of gender.these services greasethe wheelsof femaleirregular migrant laborby recruiting womenin Moldova workabroad.fines. and trips home.000Gagauz workabroador haveworked abroadandthat about halfof these arewomen who go to Turkey.The man mayfind a Russian womanand move in with herand the womanmayfinda Turkish male benefactor even prospective or husband. husbandsand wivestravelto Russiawhere they can worktogether.LEYLAKEOUGH J. for and demandingpay-back a half month'ssalary. Husbands fathersmaygo to Russia.Whilestill sendingmuchof their wages home. case of Moldova large.usuallyfor shorterperiodsof two and but sometimes longer. some couplessplit up and remainabroad. work in construction and painting. we mayestimatethatabout50. butwhatis clearis that it has prompted a great deal of panic. ous. primarilyin winter when work in the fields is not necessary.Conditions to varysome employers deemedgood. It costsabout US$400 those who overstay months. Whathas developedover the years is a transnational circuit migration as localsexplain. to usuallyin theirthirties. These individuals not allowed to returnto are on theirvisas. Often these womenfind employers whom they returneveryyear.abusive. whereby. and wealth. and in otherwaystransformed them.

" migrants. andeven Muslims. also works as a cook at a boarding school for children ("internat") addition to working on the in 442 ." are Those campaigns orphaned motherswho do decide to leavethus face considerable moralambivalence fromtheircommunities.goingto Turkey instead Russia of taintsmigrant womenevenmore. Pasha.Moreover. dirty and Turkish that are dangerous.OnecoupleI met had not gone abroadto workand are struggling to run a new business in their village. Thenthey don'twantto return theirhusbands.. forms of the discursive of Moldova moregenerally.. Thesekindsof moralsuspicions migrant of mothersare found in Gagauz communities wherewomenwho go abroad Turkey perceived be runto are to off withmen (orat leastrunning around withthemwhiletheyarethere) ning for families children behind.ImmoralWives.Mobile Mothers Neoliberalism the Margins Europe and on of 'Postsocialism:' Globalizing MigrantWomenTurnThings"Upside Down"-Irresponsible Mothers.womenwho wouldn'tbe lookedat in this villageare treatedlike men as queensbyTurkish and cometo thinkof themselves something. products the markets sellthemin Moldova negvalued. The wife.and Selfish Consumers laborin Moldova whatone eventually hearsis and Openthe topicof migrant at and directed migrant mothers "abandoning for children" unbridled anger Thisis true not only for Gagauz but up "splitting families. highlightin their how children the maintargetsof traffickers. by organizations. andtheyare blamed dissolved and left in thiscase. of in in and are Perceptions Turkey Gagauzia Moldova general negative--Turks are perceived conservative as fakeand untrustworthy. panicabout The part landscape in about "trafficking women"is one of the contextsin whichthis discussion womentakesplaceandsomething havecovered I elsewhere migrant (Keough and 2004). Sufficeit to say that Moldovan international non-governmental overpowered concernsover trafficking. They to stay. whogo to Turkey work: to olmus'")thewomenin hervillage . one of several visitsI madeto hervilmale-Gagauz migrant she explained that everything become"bottom-up" has ("alt-ust lage home. village a womanwho is university educated works and as atively for the librarian whatshe callsthe "anti-cultural house" because the waythe of cultural centeris falling wasparticularly on the topicof Turkish apart eloquent In femalerelations.Anna. to who go to Turkey suspected abandoning are of Women theirmotherly duties are compared those who chose to becausethey desiresuchtreatment.

we talked about how people use the money they mother-in-law) earn. Migration Russiais deemed less questionablethan to Turkey to of said is manyways." Pashaexplained me to as manywho had not gone abroadto workdid."Ican'tleave. you the with friends.and cook. she with her husInstead. who once.AsMiriam ing pointsout: In consumer for her household. Russian-speakers. is not that Miriam does not migrate abroadto work. critique This wouldseem to be validfor all those mobility who go abroadto work. is not only because This particularly is valued. demeaning goods. as forand In merSoviets. (sometimes when hersistergoesto Turkey to workand leavesherson withthem).Miriam.but in myformaland informal interviews seemed it focusedupon those who go to Turkey.butalso becauseof the typeof work Turkey negatively theyarewillto do-domestic service-to makemoney. her placeof employment an accountant at as at the same boarding Miriam told me that she had been to Turkey school.interestingly. fact."Huddled her make-shift in with anotherwoman office for an interview fromthe samevillage.Theyhavefourchildren five.It is just that she does not go to Turkey. and then decidednot to go again:"Ihaveone child-a daughter was 10 yearsold when I left. aroundwith men that a Gagauz womangoes to If it is not for running Istanbul to insteadof finding another to get by. "Ihavechildren takecare to of.and familyduring dayand haveyourown apartment them at night.according representations way it is because she is willing to do particularly by communitymembers. marriedwith three daughters and had returned 443 .whereasthis was not true of Turkey."Yet.and upward typesof workto gainwealth. do physical labor. Pasha'ssister.LEYLAKEOUGH J. Orthodox and to is Christians. She had to washthe laundry.Several myinterviewees that Russia the site of a valued civilization culture. goes forshortperiodsto Moscow in band. AsI sataroundin Pasha's livingroomone eveningwiththreewomenfromthe to and and villagewho had been to Turkey workas domestics two (Pasha her who had not. take careof the it house.Andthe employers treatyou better-they just giveyou the job to do and let you do it-they do not standoveryou tellingyou howto do it. traveling Russia not even considered abroadin the same way as is traveling Turkey to going (see also Demirdirek 2001).Sheaskedme not to go. So I don'tgo.butyou workalongside yourhusband. Tatya.

they are particularif of socialdistinctions. others. of is as scrutiny housesin Gagauzia a commonpractice.buying new sleeper-sofas. the blamefor socialdisorderis peculiarly focusedupon women. university Others havelargeand expensive or weddings buildbig new homes.nowit is everyonefor themselves. hearingrangeof Lara. Interestingly. cook for 444 .she said. she replied that"ourpeoplehavegonewild/they out of control" are ("bizimkSeveral ilercokazitti").Miriam scoldedLara. loudly: . WhenI askedthe elderlyBabushka ly representative in her day.often plastering straightening and putting paintingson the walls wallpaper. In visits to several households. insteadof carpetsand placingcarpetson the floors. boombox. or buyinga washingmachine. and despitethe factthatthey knowhow and they'llbecomedrunks get worsewhenthey go.thereare women here who are very into themselves.relaxed.peoplewereconcerned about buildingup their homes likethis. and concurred notedthat whereaspeopleusedto help each other.or gettingsatellitetelevision. for those migrantwomen's husbands who do take care of their house and children. many women I spoke with exclaimed: "Theymake the bread now!"Tatya.Mothers Neoliberalism the Margins Europe and on Mobile 'Postsocialism:' of Globalizing fromTurkey monthsbeforewe met. cookat the viland interview a group schoolfor children. Lara a has lage boarding publicly and an alcoholichusbandand had expressed desireto go backto a baby Miriam remarked In Turkey. Forinstance.who leavetheirhusbands children. She hadcommuted workforthe four to same employer thereforthe pastfouryears. second:the gas line.Households werealso fixed up by buildinga new fence or roof.the third:the kid'snewfurnishings.Asshe told me: I lookaroundmy houseand I see my firsttripto Turkey: washing the the machine. despitethe factthat men leavetoo. Thenexttripwas myfirstdaughter's education.I discoveredthat redoingrooms involves crookedmud-brick them withelaborate the contextof a with Miriam anotheremployee.Lara.12On the other hand..explained that men now picklethe vegetables come fall. I witnessedseveralsimilarscenarios whichleavingto try to careforyour in childrenis not seen as a responsible optionbecauseit makesa self-destructive husbandworseand leaves him as a burdenon others. The refrigerator.even thosewho had beenabroadthemselves..

as Miriam a expressed commonsentiment: "This not right. bandandsearching a newone?Migrant for womenin Gagauzia thustaintare ed by their migration Turkey.with only one half dayoff a week.While womenlikeTatya mayquietly respecttheir husbands.These revealthe judgmentthat women and not men are at fault for a narratives man'sdrinking philandering. her husband.naive.a childneeds to with On its mother. Muslim Turk. villagersmore loudlypronouncehusbandsleft behindas abandoned pitiable. paidthe the Life fees. the abandonment children. highschoolbiologyteacher.The motherswere in is Gagauz to womenDespite as badwivesand mothers-who are blamedforthe ruinof a man.Tatya said that while she sent herhusband money.this is not perceived appropriate. so greedy for money that they would do anything." a midnight downthe muddylanesof one Gagauz tour village.he wasthe one that putthe gas linein.the break and of Even whenarrangements up of the family.dressthem and send them off to school. One Gagauz even worriedto me that Gagauz they explained. with Russia an option. is these womenaretoo old to go running aroundafterchildren. and. ethnographer femalemigrant laborcouldleadto the extinction the Gagauz of people. bad mothers. sit and do theirhomework them. out to me all the houses without lights. in the villagewas hardand him she appreciated fordoingthese things. who.pointed Anna. morally sullied by their association with Turkeyand with Turkishmen. are madeto leave childrenwith their grandmother. go to Russia workand finda Turkey Russian womanare also perceived pitiable.thoughperhaps less of a "sucker" the manwho stays. as havingno otherchoice. and Thatthey do these "womanly" is an tasks in indicator disorder the village. 445 . most of all.or even stayas ing homeand struggling through. ing alone withoutyourfamilyor friends.and even theirwages-seen as naive and stupid. abandonment children. and some under constructionalmosteveryother housewas darkand empty. breakup and the of the of families. to their labor.Othermen. optionfittingtradian tionalgenderroles. and a the librarian. whywoulda womanchooseto workserva newly-wealthy who tells you what to do day and night.Theyare seen as making as that decisionbecausetheirwivesleft. to withyourhusand/orunhappy fleeingyourresponsibilities yourchildren.and be thankful the job.and even the dissolution theircommunities.LEYLAKEOUGH J. university and took careof the children. than the factthat menarealsochoosing leave. the kids. selfish. assumingtheirwife in of is running aroundwithTurkish for men. unlessyou are incredibly for greedyand selfish. of Thebottomline seems to be that.

migrant themselvesoften uphold the moralitiesimplicitin these representations.consumption. will themselves. rurality. In distinguish I these narratives. argue they a new moraleconomy. in stillothers." also of marked but that and Turks.employthem in othfor ers.witheconomicconditions harsh. a and continued necessary foranygood mother.foundmigrant womenuse the same moralcategories that them negatively-particularly of the "goodmother. work-to justifytheir migrant labor.but psychologicallychallenging-that it was hard to get used to serving someone else and to make the time abroad pass quickly. sexuality. Allof the womenwithwhomI spokewho havebeento Turkey their justify in the moralterms of motherhoodmuch like those we heard migration All above:Theyneededthe moneyto takecareof theirchildren. however. Several women explained how.Itis usually this in contextthat these womenspokeabouthow hardthe workwas.or thatyourdaughter a bigweddingare nowpartof the division of laborand a wayof life. I spoketo a groupof nursesat a villagehospital who all saidthat they wentto Turkey workin orderto raisetheirchildren to and nowthey expectthattheirdaughters. sure child a making a musically-gifted canafford violinand has lessons.resistthem. One nursefromthe hospitalexplainedthat she only sawherwagesfortwo daysbeforeshe sent it to herfamily. they were at 446 .and Mobile Mothers Neoliberalism the Margins Europe on of 'Postsocialism:' Globalizing MigrantWomen "Raise Up"Communities-Selfless Mothers.Manywomen talked about savingevery pennyto send home.Atthe sametime.despitethe costsof beingawayfromtheirfamily.but. many themselvesfrom morallycorruptor naive migrantlaborers. While that womenare"like that" admitting some migrant ("oylede var").and ResourcefulCitizens as women Ironically. beingresponsible do the same when they havechildren: will soon be theirturn" "It said one nurse. SacrificialWage Earners. as illegal workers. to Turkey helpwiththe householdbudgetand thingslikesending to a going childto university. we even find in some of the abovenarratives. Most admitted that their work was not physically.Theypushthe limitsof villagenormsto positionthemselves against those who stayand also to formnew ideasof whata "goodmother" They is. my intervieweesclaimedtheywouldnotgo anywhere thingswerestablein theirvillage if and if they hada job that paidenough.and.Women who go abroad worksee labormigration not onlya legitto as imatewayto get by.Yet. in thus tacitlyacceptthese representations some ways. one One of the wayswomen articulate their imageof the "goodmother" is of of of throughnarratives savingtheirmoneyand descriptions the difficulty being an illegal migrantworker.

One Many talkedabout missing also fromComrat a singlemotherof a youngboy.I cannotdo thatat Istanbul neighborhood known for the socializing of former Soviet women with Turkishmen.seeto instance. exclaimed: [even]missedmywalls!" for "I She In these narratives. also their homesin Gagauzia. also complained localdomestics get more and sometimeshave health insurance.Vera.confronted head-onthe reputations womenwho go to Turkey of with a phraseI heardtime and againfrom migrant "I workers: go therefor the money. just need money.Allthe women I interviewed talked abouthow muchthey missedtheirchildren whenthey wereaway."13 we Another a woman."When I asked if they spent their days off in Laleli.KEOUGH the whimof theiremployers.aboutthe joys and pains of hearingtheir voices over long-distance phone calls.14In 447 . One are as and too yeargoesbyhard it is.left him in the careof and her motherwhile she workedin Turkey caringfor an elderlylady. I missmymother daughter much. not for a husband.We of she haveculture.WhenI askedAnnathe librarian anyif ing products in Gagauz cultureseemedto havechangedas a resultof this backand thing forth labor migration and infiltration remittances. bribed.Ionly But haveone daughter! youhaveto go forone year.youhaveto go.manywomenfearedbeingpickedup. there as not valuable.LEYLA J. For mostclaimtheydo not buyanything fromTurkey bringback.AsTatyaput it. and how they countedthe daysthey were to come home. morerecently workas a domestic.and communities a sacrifice makefortheirchildren. woman. Someemployers took advantage theirsituaof not allowingthem to leavethe houseand takingtheir passports.or deported by the police.explained: but to There womenwho staytwo. Even tion."No. motherly they These women depict themselvesas "goodmothers" also by distancing themselvesfrom their associationwith Turkish productsand men and by of using the same negative categorizations Turkeydetailed above. what is hardabout laboring abroadis that "wehide"("biz that Tatya saklaniyoruz"). whereasillegal migrant paid workers to werenot privy these benefits. women with whom I spoke perceived the this hardwageas earninglaborand absencefromtheirhomes. again. startedgoingto Turkey workas a textilemerchant who to in the mid-1990s. many women were reluctant to say they did.She now works a daycarein Comrat. if allowedto leave. villagepriwitha son.threeyears.Valentina. replied. who went to Turkey worked and as maryschoolteachermarried a domestic.families.fromthe urban centerof Comrat. Rosa.

typesof workand ideas changing of about rurality. On but rising above the crowd tends to prompt jealousy. This. familiesare tolerated termsof wealth.manyinsisted they continue go to Turkey that are well.seeing their own systemas morally superior.rurality. whatwe mightcall"slavic. they redefining butalso upholding particulargendered morality. or themselves Gagauz allegiances.transnational. As in the Russiancontexts discussed by other scholars." co-optthis category."Several articulated critique genderand laborin urbanand capitalist a but on Turkish society.on Mothers Neoliberalism the Margins Europe of Mobile and 'Postsocialism:' Globalizing the confront resist negand these narratives.15 the other hand.consumption. womenand men revealsimilarcombinations cultural conwhichare now. work. if 448 . here too.ruralethic-and a gendered at a but to because that. mother. in language. povertyis perceivedas bearable. They defendthe moralsuperiority of and familylifestyles genderrolesand heartily life. womenmigrants directly Gagauz in ativerepresentations them. leaning as ed in theirviewsof wealth. all either Russian.Allof these women's defending ments about changingwealth patternsand types of work.theirhusneighbors explained.Butherein the village. they to muchlike a Turkic definethemselves opposition Turks.treated they havea goodsituation: "We hard Tatya partof ourregular of er. oftena cook." and of Turks Gagauzia in and of Turkish work withnegative lifestyle representations to women's Moldova showmigrant and allegiance localmoralities." both.whereassmalldifferences In among a and supported. harder women.whilealso participating imagesof the "good of this it. whichmakes housebandstakecareof them. also again. Turkey. work.Oneof Pasha's "Turkish womendon'thaveto work. do thiskindof workhere[inGagauzia] said anyjob.andthatit is nota They paidwell. and Russia.andgenderrelations well.they havea maid. personwho gainsa greatdeal of wealthand is ostentatious is treated with great suspicion. Inthiscontext. Gagauz Orthodox WhenI askedwomenaboutsuch other Eastern European peoples. It is herethatwe findtracesof whatmight theirGagauz Moldovan village one be considered socialist.whether structsat workin these communities. some see Turkish womenas havingeasy lives. if people are equally poor. Forinstance. communities In eventhoughtheyspeak likeit or not. wealth. workis evenhardthe way. termsof ethnicity.they havehousehold appliances Suchcriticisms holdworkeasy. said that they consider is demonstratbutnotTurkish. is narratives Another theyarticulate rolesas goodmothers through their way criticize Turkish "newwealthy" of the domestic workthey do in Turkey.a nanny. Bothsets of these narratives-thoseblamingmigrant womenand those them-herald commoncultural judglogics.consumption patterns.

Asseveral scholars in explain. tions. the problems with the state and economy. oftenagricultural and andthis laboris muchadmired work. byasserting theirworkabroadis a sacrifice that they makefortheirchildren. Migrant womenarethuscriticized not sufficiently for or among to for appropriately laboring gainwealthand new products theirhomes. if they refuse. insisting the labors Gagauzia.physical. importance bothworking mothering Gagauz The of and to migrant women is significant-afterall. the migrants themselvesupholdthese veryideals-by that they do not buyturkishproducts cavortwithTurkish nor men. the anxietyhere revolvesaroundthe geoplaceof women's work. in Moldova general. in Russia.they maybe considered In livelysocializing Yet does not overdoit-especially if abroadand arrogant. wheretheyworkas indoorcaretakers. to as in In womenare expected workandto participate men in workand also in to with and drinking. of whilecriticizing Turkish women by respecting physical as lazyand.particularly the Stalinist the Sovietregimepromoted era.16 by tories of suffering. sacrifice. and potentially. regards the latter. and of amongthe Gagauz servesas a sourceof dignity. both production reproduction the imageof the good "worker-mothand in we see. Yet.These who forgo dynamicsare compoundedin the case of women in Gagauzia to the opportunities do manuallaborin what is considered more civilized to go to Turkey.not whethertheyworkat all. but also "romanticizeand legitimate women's double burden itself" (1994:259). Bruno argues that 449 . "days. and loss" that complain of the burdens of women. The"goodmother" criticism of tropegoes a long waytowardsbalancing mothers. whereeven nowthe tropeof the "suffering woman"is "mythical" in its proportions of (Ries1994). Women's sufferingis representative the dilemmasof the "Russian soul"itselfand womenare viewedas its repositoTheRussian women's"litanies" described Riesinvolve"poeticinvenry. a Gagauz individual gains wealththroughwhat is perceivedas hard labor their socialand geographic mobilityis deemed legitimate. fact. Thisshouldbe graphic considered the contextsof boththe Sovietand pre-Soviet in eras. socializewith Turkish men outsidethe surveillance their of Gagauiza." have Russia. in the small setting of a village." this"cult motherhood" of stemsalso backto pre-revolutionary times Yet. Jealousy those perceivedto be making fromdoing little labormotivates rumors money and.they are associatedwith "uncivilized" and suspectedof sexual indisrecTurkey.LEYLAKEOUGH J.bothsexesareexpected participate in hard.such gossip serves as social control.In a particularly rural not necessarily and socialist to sense. mostof all. a "goodwoman" Turkish

the same time."Peoplehave to do thingsfor themselves now-and they do-and that is howthingsget betterfor them.butthe onlyrouteto improve out the construction and walkedthroughhervillagetogether. ourvilconversation. and arefallingapart.theirparOf of trope ticipationin and justification this laborthroughsuch a discursive them in widernets of oppression. new markets. to thisas notonlya wayto bettertheirchilseeing in As dren's conditions theirvillages. they are con450 .on of Mothers Neoliberalism the Margins Europe and 'Postsocialism:' Mobile Globalizing these typesof representations out in how women'seconomicactivity is play Whereas Russian men who tradeare often depictedas "speculaperceived." herselfhadworked She abroad. insisted the onlywayto change conditions her village is to go abroadto work.Gagauz womentoo betterto their mothers' migrant adjust as the mother' the keyto the socialorder emphasize tropesof the 'sacrificing to justifytheir laborfor themselvesand their children. The New MoralEconomiesof Mobile "Worker-Mothers" In this "talk"we find that migrant women's desires are focused on changing At and "lifting themselves up" ("kaldirmak")."Inanother is Annathe librarian "There no state left. also sympathized: she doubtedthat migrant "People These tryingto lift themselvesup ["kaldirmak"] going abroadto work." by as see assessments indicate these migrant that laborers themselves one of the mostresourceful responsible and Theysee migrant peoplein the community. Tatyapointed and noted that every of houseswith bettermaterials rebuilding individual This has one of those households at leastone personabroadmaking money. the in She that Tatya explained. in this case. transnational such narratives sacrificesby women workingabroadalso help children of absence(2005). course. According sociologistParrenas. and betterhousinghave come to the villagewith the help of these wages. laboras a routeto helptheirchildren to bettertheirvillagehomesand and lives. implicates to womenemploythe logicof the "goodmother" defend Gagauz migrant theirdecision workabroad."womenare viewedas participating tradeto makemoneyfor their familiesand thusare not as suspect(1997:72). maysee Gagauz We narratives of motherhoodalso as helpingwomen engage more freely in new labor to ones. complained. wasa strikingly than different interpretation the darkand emptyhousesperceivedby Annaand her husbandin anothervillage.Gasheat. we future.not escapethem. activities. whileherimpreslages seemsto indicate she that sion of the darkandemptyhousesleft by migrants are laborwas working.

they water. theyholdthemselves a different they haveself-respect were drowning now they are able to keeptheir headsabove and now. If it were me. Straddling theirownto haveas manyconveniences-indeedthings theytryto transform suchas wallpaper.LEYLAKEOUGH J."Ina certo tain sense.who talkedof laborexperiences her walls explainedthat "whenI came backto my daysoff. even as they criticizeTurkish households. thattheywere not changing that enough. no vacations. in theirlivesat home Whether or these "raising" "swimming" transformations are accentedby their migrant don'tthink "There. she shrugged. I'd leave entirely-what is there to do here? Why don't they take advantage of their opportunities?"Through 451 ."But She then I thought. in rantbefore. you about buyingthings like that.otherreasons cially they go to to Istanbul work.even claimed Anna.She explained of her daughters gone to Turkey.Vera. had married Turk. "Theyare leaving. Tatya aboutshoppingin Veraaboutgettingher haircut.perhaps morequietly. can buythingsfor yourselfand yourkids."It is true that mostof theirwagesdo go to benefit with theirchildren homesin Gagauzia." and Maybe theyare even tryingto swim. wallscrooked. sure. are kitchens open to otherrooms. goingon a boat.and washingmachines new markers statusin the community. I looked missing the aroundand got verydepressed. these village women found some worldlinessin their work abroad-severalreminisced aboutseeingthe sea. well.I commented. the two had One a and to otherintendsto keepcommuting Turkey supporther children grow to to up in the Gagauzvillage.As one young woman whose father had workedabroadfor over 10 years put it." paused. I can changethat. of everthe critic. structingnew moral economies.otherbenefitsit brought them personally. elderly nursetalkedaboutwearingpantsfor the firsttime. I also heard. that right. in conversations thesewomen and Yet." Moldova and Turkey. to One or.Here. Some had neverbeen to a restauIstanbul. The there is no running no washingmachines.act likethat. overtime. but they aren't really doing anything new or different. Tatya complained a majordifference her life sinceshe was backwasthat she had no time to in and no time to visit with her girlfriends. floorsare dirty. "You tell the people who have can worked in abroad: way. at least. herself.but nonethelesspresentespewhentheywereamongothermigrant women."One of the nursestalked about what she learned Turkey: in it "That is necessary talklikethis. womanfled an abusivehusband who she did not feel she coulddivorceoutothersfelt theyfoundsomefreedomin Istanbul.or in the rightways. that and Tatya explained she became"caught the middle" one of the nurses commented:"Oneof my legs is still standingin Turkey.

but has of Tatya.Moreover.Thesewomen are growingincreasingly or visa regimeand of livingin fear of being bribed. In this "talk. and no assurancethat they will get in wearyof maneuvering this paid.deported." if they cannotofferthem a job that paysat home.and Russia a beaconof civilization.have no health care. in It also forcesherto haveto go abroadagain. abroad. the early2000sit but was easy and cheap to go backand forthfromTurkey. everyyearfines in Turkey. While their usedto you to raiseyourfood.fewerfines. and legal workopportunities see their laborsabroadand these kindsof demandsas a new moraleconofor state from providing their ecomy that worksto excusethe Moldovan All laborsare needs within Moldova. also admitted that: Evenwhen you save. but now. you sometimescan't make ends meet because for then otherthingsfall apart. but as ues of rurality.I freedomof movement. thereis nobody takecareof the landandthe animals. whereshe or others. 452 . It makesit harder herein some ways. the while. who is placedin a lowerstratum hervillagethanAnna.on of Mothers Neoliberalism the Margins Europe and 'Postsocialism:' Mobile Globalizing their geographic mobilityand laborsabroad. glingto amountto a of desiresandtheircontinued justification being'goodmothers' valstill traditional is Thismorality grounded in Gagauz new moraleconomy. severaltalkedabout how they are at the whimof go up.admittedhow it may have become somewhat She harderin the villagebecauseof labormigration." said. abused by police what some demand did not even need a passportto enter.Miriam's solutionis to go to Russia. hopes of upwardmobility.sinceyou be able to are in Turkey. it also for migrant womenand new and different allowsfor and seeksout lifestyles theirfamilies.all of these womenare strugneweconomic activities and Their bettertheirlivesandtheirfamilies. their transnational nomic changingperceptionsof consumerneeds at home and creatingnew and increasing desires that seem to implicate these individuals more directly into global capitalist processes.Before migrated work. hardwork.imprisoned. fromtheirstates now. and not haveto buy it. admittedthat she has "Here haveto we of gotten used to the convenience householdappliances.butthen pipedup:"But she the bring waterinsidethe for it is changing heretoo-I boughta washingmachine our house!" she Yet.

They align themselveswith hardworking people and a socialist morality. mothers" a they are blamedfor societaldisorder. Thesetransnational traders posit themselves different as fromboththe "immoral of speculators" the new capitalisteconomyand the "suckers" waitingfor the state to help them (765). also loyalties. certainly." female migrantdomestic Similarly. Theyrespondby asserting new moraleconomybased upon an idea of "motherhood.let alone their gendereddimenWhat literature."as Konstantinovtheorizes 453 ." explains He that economicactionis anxiety-ridden and is prehere sented as "emotionally colored-an object of attraction.when they were not just out to increase their own wealth. alsoasserttheirmoralworthin termsof beingbrave. Konstantinov latterrepresenwithtraders' to normalize tation.along activities.indifference. they according trashroad" fromthe east and Turkey Thesetraders seen as are "great (2002). seen as chaoticandambivalent thereis a nostalgic and seekingout of "socialist"order. KEOUGH Conclusionsand Provocations:The Neoliberal Rationales of Mobile Mothersand the MoldovanState Aswe see in the narratives Moldovan female migrant workers above. Writingof the fall of communism in Bulgaria. mothers simplyhardworking trying Theydefendtheiractionsthrougha local morality stemmingfromthe past. money not but for people labor through "unproductive" (2002). workers fromGagauzia associated are witha negatively valuedeast and with societaldisorder. or He details how new marketcapitalism Bulgaria in is repulsion" (1996:769). does exist sions.Konstantinov arguesthat the Bulgarian tradersrespondto such accusations seekingout orderthroughwhat he by terms"poetics:" their to Interpreting positionin reference the stableorientation pointof a "socialist" economicmorality.LEYLA a "socialistorientation. are perceivedas participating the in Russia. This could be envisioned.andadventuresome entrepreneurs." These kindsof moraljustifications transnational of laborin Eastern and and Europe the FSU the new moraleconomiesthey constitute.havebeen littletheorizedin anthropological is limited to trading.Gagauz areassociated withanxiety overneweconomic accusedof being"bad activity." same type of disorder associated The is with new tradersin to Humphrey. they For this tive.The"tourist-traders" followsin this contextare associated he with new "disorder. There is a nostalgiafor a time when individualshelped each other in the community. attempts trading represents a new "prospective moral economy.imaginaHowever. womenreject The theseassociations assertthattheyare and and laborers to bringorderto their lives. Konstantinov detailsthe moraljustifications new transnational of "touristtraders. whotransgress onlystateboundaries.

Yet. especially motherstryingto speakingMoldovans. elseas left at home.In this case of what kindsof rightsto expectas a worker it domesticworkers. ing" the disorganized and illegal nature of such movements of people and to especially of wages. these migrant mother-and in the process. Political-economic restructuring daughters and Bankloans.I havetriedto illuforthe traders 17 also how these transnational laborers' minate poetics" employ "interpretive not or other ideas. dire to of Moldova's economicsituationand this response it. as Russian and Orthodox. of this paper. consumption they are constituting appropriate a and whatis necessary provide futureforyourchildren. nowefforts Yet. focuson the difficult a remittances" ingjobs at home.Theyreferto theirexperiences only as 'socialist' 'capitalto as Russianalso in reference theirpositions rural workers. Asa result. agendasto keepyoungwomenfromrisking that are breaking underthe very economicconstraints the stop migration womenquotedabovepointto: thereare no jobs and socialservices migrant in Moldova most peoplelive underthe poverty and line. Thesemultipleand overlapping subjectivities assuageconditions to moraleconomy" also are relevant the "prospective they are mapping.women or to to for willcontinue go abroad workdespitethe risks themselves fortheir in Moldova.These where. these Because the have and otherdevelopment organizations shiftedto advising Moldovan taskof creatnor state not to preventlabormigration. to forthe household. they do havean interestin "orderYet. is clearthat boththeir"moral point" orienting migrant moraleconomy" underdevelat home and in the pastand the "prospective opmentare understood Russia. but insteadto construct systemto "capture laboras a tool for development.on of Mobile Mothers Neoliberalism the Margins Europe and 'Postsocialism:' Globalizing withwhomhe travels.18 state no longerhasa The and use migrant stakein keepingpeoplein Moldova.In what it meansto be a good womenare redefining this case. ist. and as a citizen.the state intervenes in and trade certain trading attempting "disorderly" to create"order"-licensing 454 . is conditionedby the dictatesof IMF World influence individual statesto shiftto neoliberal of institutions priorities fiscal themin a cycleof loanacquisition debtrepayment. and placing responsibility. According Humphrey. in Theseinstituand inter-governmental organizations with to women'smigration counter-trafficking tionsinitially policy responded to travelabroad.'but Gagauz. of and discourses mobile mothersthemselves-their genThe practices their for deredjustifications goingabroadto find workinsteadof expecting a state to provide jobs for them and theirattemptsto constitute new moral of the Moldovan and nonstate withthe neoliberal economy-align practices influential Moldova.

including new Russian zen (2002:75-6)." "third or to As world. imageof disorderly the labor In migrant also givesthe statereason intervene to and throughregulations this maylead to constructing neo-liberalminded Moldovancitizens. suggestwe watchout forthe waythatgenderplaysa rolein legitimating neoliberal other contexts." women's categorization "postwelfare.potentially to the further lead feminization the private of realm and masculinization the publicspherethat has been so muchdiscussed of in the "postsocialism gender" and literature. WhereHumphrey in I pointsto ethnicity these stateand citizenprocesses." is mothers Migrant are blamedforthe lossof socialorderand they respond pushing limits the by of localnormsto position themselves bettermothers as thanthose who stay. to prevent otherkinds(2002). whatclearly fromthe narratives all these individemerges by uals is a sensethat "motherhood the keyto socialorder. the caseof Moldova.they assertnew ideasof what makesa good motherand what makesa bettersocialand economicorder. the coincidence the are to but of and collapseof socialism the welfarestate and new formsof neoliberal governance. However. and even help them to constructnew lifestyles. It mayprovide reasoning them notonlyto contribute the for theirshareto the household budget. Howand why are men and women How migrants differently targetedfor regulation? and whyare certainroutes How of womenas "badmothers. In so doing." restricted the "global south").theirconceptof motherAt hoodmayworkin theirfavorto defendtheirmigration economic and actions." regulated? mightthe construction migrant with new state migration that restrict some movementsand along policies allowothers. Inconclusion. while still not simplya linearchangefromsocialism capitalism. times. the case of the Gagauz there are common genderedneoliberal migrantdomesticsdemonstrates.LEYLAKEOUGH J.Myanalysisindicates that we need to reconsider categorization the of these dynamics this regionas "postsocialist" well as otherscholars' in (as of migrant situationas "postcolonial.Itis not oversocialorderareexpressed becauseof the typeof justthattheseanxieties economicactivity these women engage in (whether but tradingor serving). relevant The transformations here.Humphrey pointsout how new lawsthatguide behavior oftenformedalongethniclinesandthatthese lawsserve are trading to construct socialand political new a citicategories. at processes work. this logic of "motherhoodas the key to social order"and the new identities and labor prac455 . a bit to are morecertainthan we were able to describeten or even five yearsago. The "transitions" not fromsocialist postsocialist. becauseit is womenwho are doing it. but also to expand their imaginationsand desires.

Gagauzis the Turkic and is language(Azeri a close second) most similarto the Turkish in spoken in will becomeclear.Instead. unfortunately.mafia. has explored the gendered nature of transnationalfemale 2Onesociologist.Keough and (2004). Yukseker. in among otherswere used to "express a simple.WhileRiesdoes not exploregenderin relationto these representa456 . and Gagauzspeakerwas presentduringan interview(usuallya migrantwoman herself) and helped to translateon the spot.and two anonyfor mous reviewers theircarefulreadings thoughtfulcommentson this paper.I would like to thank Dr. to Thisresearch in was conductedprimarily Turkish Gagauz. Comrat. which I am fluent.I would also like to extend my gratitude to NewYork Gender Transition and and University's workshop myfellowscholarsat the Five College Women's Studies Center and at University of MassachusettsAnthropology Department.Mobile Mothers Neoliberalism the Margins Europe and on of 'Postsocialism:' Globalizing tices of migrants may workto containand oppresswomen and.who kindlyofferedtheir stories.In Chisinau.Dr.Foranalysesof this probtrafficking.and in the Moldovancapital. linear fashion the enormouslycomplicated. dearest thanks goes to these mobile mothersthemselves. and Thispublicationwas developed from a presentationat the conference"Emerging citizenshipand contestedidentitiesbetweenthe Dniester.Finally." few focuson sex but as laborpractice.Dr.the experienceof formerSovietRussia English (Demirdirek is also relevantfor the Gagauz case and thus I drawon the scholarship Russia genon and der in anthropology contextualizethe experiencesof women in Gagauzia. a Russian Turkish. 4Riespoints out that people workthroughthe changes aroundthem throughsuch "talk" as (2002).Demirdirek Whitehead (2004).and privatization. and June 2004-May (February-April 2005). ("chelnoki") Turkey data on representations migrantwomenand their responses colof was ethnographic 3This lected as partof 15 monthsof transnational dissertationresearchin Turkey Moldova and 2002. varioustimes.and DanubeRivers" took placeat the MaxPlanckInstitutein 2005 and benefitedimmenselyfromthe ideas discussedthere.JackieUrla. In additionto one week in April2002. I where I conductedparticipant observaspent Septemberto December2004 in Moldova. tion and collectedover20 formalinterviews and manymoreinformalinterviewsin homes and workplacesin several Gagauzvillages. For their suggestionson this workand collegialrigor. exists in only one dissertationon Gagauzia 2001). that Prut. ENDNOTES 'Therehas been some workon migrant workers. lem in one contextsee Uygun(2004).AndrewLass.Yet. and non-governmental organizationsabout migrationfrom Moldova. arguedhere.most hone in on casesof sex migrantprostitution a transnational Thisargumentis outside of the scope of this article. I also At and English speaksome Russian. in "tourist traders" (2004).I interviewedgovernment.knownas "natashas. as I have with rationales.alignthem insidiously neoliberal ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This paper is based upon researchfunded by IREX the Instituteof Turkish and Studies.She focuses on Russianstories and mythologizing agency and arguesthat discoursesabout cynicism.Whileit would be ideal to have ethnographiesof Gagauzlife (particularly regardinggender relations)in Moldovato supportthis work. in the Gagauzcapital.multidimensionalrealitiesof their changingsociety" (278). speakeror a Russian.Julie Hemment.

Turkey. yet this should not be taken to mean that this is peculiarto the Gagauz case. 81referhere to Verdery's 'WhileI did not do a comprehensive there are more survey. women are not morevulnerable men'sabuse to Gagauz than other women in Moldova. 10These firms("firmalar") essentiallytraveland employmentagencies. women migrants that migrationis sometimesa responseto 12SomeGagauz acknowledged domesticabuse. Bruno(1997). however. whom do the As to Gagauzbelong-Central AsianTurks. Theyplace women in domesticworkpositionsor. her was which is not the definition I was 13Granted.Borneman (1991.2000b).'See footnote 6 for 'postsocialism gender'literature.Moldova-has long been a the Moldovans.Russia. tions in this piece.Gal and Kligman (2000a.IOM statistics(2005)show that Gagauz 34%of migrantsfrom Moldova women (these statisticsare not brokendown by ethnic are women in the villages I traveled group). the currentarticleon Gagauz"talk" inspiredby the significanceshe is as placeson narratives moralwork. 14"1 hate goingto Laleli. discussedpreviously.She did not haveany children.Chin(1998)Constable (1997). makingthe case that this is a peculiarly sentimentless compelling(see Parrenas 'postsocialist' 2005).but she said she went for her niecesand nephews. rativesof migrantwomen from other. or 111n in the recentpopularfilm representation trafficking of it fact.' placesthem as ambiguously or It alignedwith Turkey with Russiaand supportsthe distrustof them as some sort of 'fifthcolumn'in Moldova. Socialism. be more pronouncedthan in Moldovamore generally. buckup." of house using. McClintock al (1997).and Parrenas and 2005)are representative worksthat deal with migrantwomenfromthe 'thirdworld' of or 'globalsouth. but also can be are involvedin trafficking.still indicatesthat she does not see Turkey havinganythingcivilized as to offer.LilyaForever.and Watson (1997). "Ihaveto go to Laleliin orderto send things home to them on the minibusesthat go back 457 . proportionally. Ries(1994).Fromwhat I witnessed in Gagauz homesand outsidethem. Marina. especiallyif they are young. definitionof "culture" "civilization. who I spoketo at a stall in the outdoor marketin Comrat me. and 6A examplesrelevanthereare Berdahl few (1999).Gal(1994. Such representations constructone primarily solutionfor desperatewomen like Lilyaand her mother:Don't be a slave to passionsfor men or money. Forethnic-Romanian the key divide of European civilization and Orientalbarbarism (whichin this case means both IslamicOriental. parts of the world. Anderson(2000) Changand Groves et and (2000). Grewaland Kaplan(1992).Ehrenreich Hochschild (2001 (2002).mysense is that.but also Russian and are thus associatedwith these backOriental) wards'Others. for instance. She had been to Turkey told severaltimes to workas a domestic. Hemment(2004).Kaneff(2002) Pine (2002). WhatWas and WhatComes Next(1996). is a motherleavingher daughterto go abroadwith her male lover. and take care of your responsibilities. Gagauzinhabita liminal identityvis-a-vis question." one urbanwoman.despite her previouscharacterization the "anti-culture" at whichshe works.stay home. Abu Lughod(1992). 5Someworks in postcolonialfeminist studies include. non-post-socialist. victims.She explained.that is seen as one of the reasonsthat the daughteris latertrafficked. in entertainment sex workpositions. women in Turkey than ethnic Romaniansin Italy. would suggestwe take into accountthe negativeimages I of the Gagauz understand to these representations.but her quickreply. 1997). that appealto their rolesas "goodmothers" also be found in nardiscourses can 7Moreover. Bulgaria.LEYLAKEOUGH J.but it seemed to me that closerto half of Gagauz at throughhad been to Turkey some point.1998).but only money. I mentionthis here becauseof the perceptionI found commonin the NGO communiin that Gagauzparticipate more 'traditional' in ty and among ethnic-Romanians Moldova in Domesticabuse in Gagauzia said to is genderrelationsthan their counterparts Moldova.

Lanham: Rowman Littlefield.Michaeland KatherineVerdery."Theyare also considered"shrewd.but only those for whichyou haveadequate'cover"' of (2002:300). Ethnologist 2000. for instance(forone example.Albany: State University of New York. "Women the Culture Entrepreneurship. Anderson. InService Servitude: Foreign Malaysian "Modernity" Project. York: Books. B. of Press.2000. Zed the Ended:Re-unification Identityin a German and Berdahl. Kimberly SexualDiscoursein the FilipinaDomesticWorker in Women's Community HongKong. Where World of Bordertown." went on. and ed. Berkeley: University California BasicBooks. Ries (2002). 458 . people who are doing well financiallyin the context of postsocialistRussiaare considered"smart" meaning "active. see Lass1999.ambitious.split up husbandand wives. Doingthe DirtyWork: GlobalPoliticsof Domestic The New Labour. 56-74. seems to mean negotiating the margins dangerand takingrisks. and Female Domestic Workers the and Chin. hardworking 16Thisis familiarto the dynamicsof genderand nationalismin other. And10% the women deservethe repuof tation-there is nothing they wouldn'tdo for 10 or 20 dollars.havemovedin lockstep:shiftingfroma countto er-trafficking campaignthat tells women that they "are not a commodity" a "smart modelthat emphasizesgettinginformation beforea woman leaves. John.N.Daphne. And wvehave destroyed Turkish families. Subversions of the International Order.NewYork: . Butthe other 90%paysfor it. She Howshould I put it." American 17:41-5. 1998. Fromthe Baltic to Central Asia.Afterthe Wall. "Neither'Saints'nor 'Prostitutes': Chang. 1990.for instance. Press.I found this certainly be true in the case to of Turkish women. "The Romance of Resistance: Tracing Transformations in well.1991. an argumentregarding these deeper historical culturalpatternsin the Czechcase.p.energetic.Riestoo explainshow trade is seen as immoralspeculation.People who make money are suspect and honest as people are perceived gettingthe shortend of the stick. policy 1810M-Moldova agendas. Cambridge: Cambridge Press. "TheInterpretation Culture(s) Culture: Geertz Beyond. to alwayson the lookoutfor opportunities make money or gain power.and 15For to Humphrey (2002). Ortner.see Kandiyoti 1997). of Ethnographies Change a Postsocialist and Julian McAllister Groves. ed.According Ries(2002). from my own research.Marta.maymarka kindof sentimentthat stemsfromhis17Such nostalgia For torically deeperculturalideasaboutthe past in Eastern Europe. NewYork: Columbia University Press. University UncertainTransitions: Burawoy. Mostof us just want to go to makesome moneyfor our family.1999. of after Television.Christine 1998. your men fancyour women.Asalso discussedin Humphrey (2002)and Pesman(2000).and especiallyin the currentcontext.however. Bridget." TheFateof In Abu-Lughod.and on Mobile Mothers Neoliberalism the Margins Europe of 'Postsocialism:' Globalizing and forthfrom Lalelito Comrat." PostSovietWomen: and of In Bruno. Borneman." in 1-17. "ourwomen have a reputationin Turkey. "Introduction.non-socialist/postsocialistcontexts. 1997." StudiesInternational Forum 23(1):73-87." furtherdiscussionof this in the Russiancase see Pesman (2000). & World. S. oversocialism. MaryBuckley.1999. migration" CITED REFERENCES Lila. University California Berkeley: .

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