Between Shuba, Sarma and Pasta. The Hybrid Identity of Moldovans in the West

Lucrare prezentată în cadrul Conferinței internaționale „Re-Learning to be Human for Global Times: Cultural Borders and Border Cultures”, organizată de Iași Center for Research in Values and Philosophy, Washington D.C., Universitatea „Alexandru Ioan Cuza” și Academia Română – Filiala Iaşi, 2-3 noiembrie 2018.


Based on recent in-depth interviews with Moldovans (through the project Migration and identity in the Romanian cultural milieu. A multidisciplinary approach, MIRO, 2018-2020) returned to their country after a long time of migration in the West, the paper examines the various ways by which contemporary citizens of the poorest country in Europe understand their ethnic and cultural identity. The research reveled that the migration experience allowed them to acquire a strong reference point in redefining their political and socio-economic expectations from their own country and its political system. The daily and first hand experience of the West becomes an ideological and material force that provides a critical stance towards their longtime hybrid identity. Sharing languages, cultures, and national heroes with other states, Moldova is still today a region strongly conflicted between the linguistic and cultural ties to Romania and the steady pro-Russian loyalties. Dreams of top-down and bottom-up change, cultural integration and social progress are nevertheless dismantled by the enduring effects of an intricate history and geography. As bearers of a mixed cultural background, Moldovans in the West adapt a lifestyle that acts as compelling proof of this hybrid identity.