“Examining ‘Exit’ and ‘Voice’ in Romania and Ukraine”

THE PROJECT: In January 2014, Dr. Onuch and  Dr. Sorana Toma have received an  (proof-of concept and pump-priming) OUP John Fell Fund Research Grant to study the nexus between ‘exit’ (migration) and ‘voice’ (protest) (see: Hirshchman 1978). Their study focuses on the cases of Romania (2013) and Ukraine (EuroMaidan 2013/2104). They conducted exploratory survey and field work in 2014 on the topic.

WORKSHOP AT UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD: Dr. Onuch and Dr. Toma hosted an intensive comparative workshop on the topic of Protest and Migration (in preparation for a larger project) in June 2015 at the University of Oxford (Funded by the OUP JFF), in February 2016 in Paris at ENSAE (Funded by ENSAE), and again in June 2016 at Nuffield College at the University of Oxford (Funded by the School of Social Sciences at the University of Manchester) .

PROJECT SUMMARY: While international migration (“Exit”) and mass-protest (“Voice”) have increasingly been at the forefront of global attention, academic analyses of these events have lacked coordination. Yet, we may expect these two phenomena to be highly interdependent: for example, it has been argued that the decrease in migration opportunities towards Europe was an important catalyzing factor behind the ‘Arab Spring’ (Fargues 2011). Having identified a gap in current research, we seek to investigate in a more systematic way the dynamic relationship between migration (exit) and protest (voice). We will supplement cross national quantitative analysis (focusing on Central and Eastern Europe in comparative perspective with global trends) with two case studies of Romanian and Ukrainian protest participants, which we understand to be two critical cases of migrant and non-migrant protest participation, in an EU member and a EU neighbourhood CEE country. Thus the design of this project will help capture and account for: regional trends, provide language and field work based in depth insight, and allow to elucidate the within region diversity of post-communist democratization (as related to migration and protest) in both EU and non-member states.


(Funded by The Leverhulme Trust Research Large Project Grant Oct 2013 – Sep 2016)

Principal Investigator Prof. Gwendolyn Sasse (Professor in Comparative Politics, Department of Politics and IR Professorial Fellow, Nuffield College & from 2016 Director of ZOiS in Berlin)

Post-Doctoral and Doctoral Researchers: Dr. Sarah Garding, Dr. Juta Kawalerowicz, Dr Felix Krawatzek

THE PROJECT: This project aims to complement the research on the types and impacts of economic remittances, which has rapidly grown in recent years, with fresh conceptual thinking and empirical research on political remittances. The term ‘political remittances’ has occasionally been used in academic debates about migration but has yet to be developed. It usefully highlights that the interactions between migrants and their home countries cannot be reduced to economic remittances, and it opens up a wider space for interdisciplinary research. Moreover, some historians working on migration have pointed to the value of cross-temporal research, but their call has not yet been taken up systematically by social scientists. Based on a transnational and cross-temporal approach (19th/early 20th century European migration to the US and contemporary East-West migration in Europe), this project will offer a fresh perspective on the impacts of migration beyond the limitations of case-and period-specific research or research that limits itself to a small number of ‘old’ diaspora groups when exploring homeland linkages.

The main questions this project seeks to answer are:

  1. What factors (e.g. the migrants’ sociological profile, the political regime of the sending and receiving countries, geographical distance, migrant networks, the length of stay) determine whether and how migrants stay in touch with their homelands?
  2. Do the patterns of interaction between migrants and their homelands differ by migrant group and/or historical period?
  3. How do migrants perceive difference? How does the migration experience affect their political identities, and to what extent do they communicate this experience to family members and friends back home?
  4. Do migrants affect political change in their homelands? If so, by what direct or indirect means (e.g. through political engagement or through the transfer of information, ideas and expectations) and at what point in the migration cycle (e.g. upon return to the homeland, from a long-term base in the new country of residence, or through regular patterns of absence and presence)?


Anar K. Ahmadov and Gwendolyn Sasse  ‘Migrants’ regional allegiances in homeland elections: evidence on voting by Poles and Ukrainians, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (published online December 2014)

Anar K. Ahmadov and Gwendolyn Sasse ‘A Voice Despite Exit: The Role of Assimilation, Emigrant Networks, and Destination in Emigrants’ Transnational Political Engagement’, Journal of Comparative Political Studies 1 -37 September 2015


Felix Krawatzek and Gwendolyn Sasse, article on The Conversation website, Writing home: how German immigrants found their place in the US (Feb 18, 2016)The article can also be found on Oxford Politics 22, 2016)


(Funded by the British Academy & Royal Society Newton Fellowship and the OUP John Fell Fund 2010-2014)

Principal Investigator  Dr. Olga Onuch (at time of application) Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Nuffield College and Latin American Center SIAS, University of Oxford (from September 2014 University of Manchester)

Co-investigator Dr. Tamara Martsenyuk, Associate Professor in Sociology, National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy.

THE PROJECT: The Ukrainian Protest Project involves a group of researchers at the University of Oxford, Harvard University and National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy, who have been conducting research on protests in Ukraine since 2007. We have renewed our investigation in-light of the current mass-protests taking place in Ukraine. The two main questions we ask is:

  1. What motivates and mobilizes ordinary Ukrainians to join a protest?
  2. What are the processes ( and actors involved in those processes) of mass mobilization?


Onuch, O. (2014). “Who Were The Protesters?”. Journal of Democracy. Available at

Onuch, O. (2015). “EuroMaidan Protests in Ukraine: Social Media Versus Social Networks”. Problems of Post-­Communism, vol. 62: 1–19, 2015  Available at

Onuch, O. and Sasse, G. (2016). Maidan in Movement. Europe Asia Studies. Volume 68, 2016. Available at


  1. The Monkey Cage Blog at the Washington Post about the role of social media versus. social networks in the EuroMaidan.
  2. The Monkey Cage Blog at the Washington Post by Gwendolyn Sasse and Olga Onuch about the protest cycle of the EuroMaidan.
  3. Interviewed on Al Jazeera The Stream.
  4. Interviewed on BBC World Service .
  5. Interviewed for an AFP article .
  6. Interviewed for Al Jazeera

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