The mobility of Romanian academic elites to the test of European construction

Mihai Dinu Gheorghiu


The international movement of students is an object of study both ancient and current, in terms of its scope and policies that are devoted to European and international levels. For a country like Romania, situated on the borders of the European Union, such an object can be viewed from two perspectives. Student mobility, but also professors, is one of the mechanisms of transformation of the education system and beyond, to reproduce or renew the ruling elites. The opportunity to study abroad has appeared at the same time, as a “risk” incentive to emigrate, strengthening centres of attraction for new candidates or by opening new, but also as a possible lever to reduce the gaps between academic institutions and even encourage returns. “Mobility” and “migration” may well be regarded as two sides of the same movement, which intersect in part without confusion. They are subject of contrasting social representations, by their association, in the case of “mobile” to “success”, to “dynamism” and to “progress”, and in the case of “emigrants”, to the stigma of victims, to suffering and impoverishment. If mobility implies a certain continuity in the course, emigration means break and change of identity. Interdependent and yet relatively autonomous, social representations of mobility and migration depend on more or less the ancient country‘s social history. For Romania, these relations are reversed with respect to current representations, to the extent that emigration was associated, after World War II, to a form of political opposition and an exile that preserves the “real “national values. Despite progress in understanding the different categories of migrants3 and the success of some programs of mobility and reinsertion, the ambiguous relationship between student mobility and migration have remained little studied in the last twenty years.

Mihai Dinu Gheorghiu – Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Iași, Center for European Sociology, E-mail:

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