Prestige and status in the migration process: the case of social differentiation in a Romanian ‘community’ in Spain


This paper explores status relations in a Romanian migrant ‘community’ in Spain, developing a model of social differentiation within the ‘community’ based on ethnographic material. On a theoretical level, the paper builds on the distinction between ‘class’ and ‘status’, emphasising the latter’s significance for migration research. Empirically, it aims to complement the study of status in the localities of origin, with a focus on status in the ‘communities’ at the destination. The paper suggests the existence of a developmental line in differentiation practices, from the most basic strategies of economic status improvement through the complex mechanisms of ‘prestige’ status recovery to the first occupational advancements with an associated status relevant in the receiving society, shaped by internal factors and external structural forces. Based on this, the paper proposes the model of social differentiation as a schematic tool that could become helpful in examining other phenomena related to migrant communities, especially their ‘adaptation possibilities’.

Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Vol. 40, Issue 11, pp. 1758–1778