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Should I Stay or Should I Move Back? Literary Representations of Emigration to the US in Postcommunist Romanian Literature


Abstract: This article aims to discuss two literary representations of postcommunist Romanian emigration to the United States, one of the most understudied routes of migration, in sociological and literary studies alike. Relying on Carine M. Mardorossian’s (2002) research, I understand exile and migrant literature not as taxonomic but as paradigmatic categories. As I show, the paradigmatic difference between them plays out at the level of critical representation, which reveals a subtle, implicit, and rather involuntary critique of North American capitalism and its labor market. My argument is that any critique of capitalism and the labor market is closely connected to downward social mobility.

Keywords: emigration to the US, postcommunist Romanian literature, social mobility, critique of capitalism, high-skilled migrants.



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