Differentiated Embedding and Social Relationships Among Russian Migrant Physicians in Finland: A Narrative Socio‐Analysis

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2803

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Differentiated Embedding and Social Relationships Among Russian Migrant Physicians in Finland: A Narrative Socio‐Analysis


  • Driss Habti Karelian Institute, University of Eastern Finland, Finland


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Abstract:  Migrants’ processes of (dis)embedding in local and transnational social networks have received growing attention in recent years, but most research focuses on low‐skilled migration. This study explores the affordances and challenges that Russian physicians, as a high‐skilled migrant group in Finland, experience in these processes in work and non‐work domains. Based on semi‐structured biographical interviews with 26 Russian physicians, the study employs Bourdieu’s socio‐analysis to analyze their narratives. The results reveal that Russian migrant physicians negotiate and experience differentiated embedding across work–life domains in local and transnational contexts. They mostly develop collegial relationships with Finnish colleagues and benefit from fulfilling professional relationships in the work domain. However, alongside time and efforts needed for building social ties, various factors often impede friendship making and socialization with locals beyond the work domain. These physicians cope with individual life circumstances through their enduring and supportive relationships with their Russian relatives and colleagues–friends. These results indicate that high‐skilled migrants have a greater opportunity to connect professionally with locals than low‐skilled migrants, but experience similar challenges to the latter in building close personal relationships.

Keywords:  embedding; friendship; Russian migrant physicians; social relationships; socio‐analysis; work–life domains

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v9i4.4546


© Driss Habti. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.