Older migrants in Vienna: aging and social relations (completed)

Monika Palmberger

The research conducted in Vienna centred around the themes of urban diversity, migration and the life course. It focused on older migrants who have spent a great part of their lives in Vienna and who have retired or will soon do so. The migrant group in question immigrated to Vienna between the mid-1950s and the mid-1970s and consists of labour migrants (so-called Gastarbeiter) mainly from the former Yugoslavia and Turkey, as well as refugees of European and non-European origin. The shared experience of being one of the older and more established migrants in Vienna, and not one’s place of birth, was decisive in the selection of informants.

This research project aimed to shed light on the still widely unexplored older migrant population, including not only the Yugoslav and Turkish Gast­arbeiter, as in the small number of existing studies, but also on those with different migration histories and places of birth. This research project explored the older migrants’ social practices, particularly in their immediate surroundings, their neighbourhood, as well as imaginations and understandings of successful aging, which are expected to include a strong transnational dimension. Concerning social relations in the neighbourhood, I am particularly interested in the relations of the older established migrants with those who have migrated to Vienna more recently. Of particular interest are identities that cut across ethnic boundaries and bear the potential to link ‘old’ and ‘new’ migrants, e.g. the identity of being a labour migrant or a refugee.

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