EASA 2008: Experiencing diversity and mutuality. Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Workshop W072 "Mutuality at a distance - transnational social space"

Author: Sergey Serov


The systems of mutual assistance among the Africans in moscow

Four systems of mutual assistance have been singled out for the research:

  • the assistance the African newcomers get from their relatives that remain in home countries;
  • the assistance the already well-adapted in Moscow Africans provide to their relatives in home countries;
  • the assistance the well-adapted Moscow Africans provide to their recently arrived compatriots;
  • the assistance the African newcomers get from Russians.

All the kinds of assistance were studied: practical (financial support, accommodation, etc.), information (sharing the knowledge necessary for successful interaction with the immigration services, university administration, etc.), psychological (support in hardships, spending leisure time together, etc.).
It was also important for us to find out the factors affecting the assistance providing and their strength. The most significant among them are as follows:

  • the degree of kin and affinity closeness;
  • gender;
  • ethnic origin;
  • religion;
  • country of origin.

The methods employed are questionnaire interrogation and interview, well-elaborated and recognized as highly valid in contemporary social anthropology.

The significance of the research is determined not by its academic importance only but by its possible and desirable practical outcomes as well: Its results can be used for improving the Moscow Africans' position what will no doubt be beneficial for the Russian society as a whole.