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The role of ‘place attachment’ in people’s immobility decisions and well-being – insights from fieldwork in Moldova and Romania

01 November 2023

In October 2023, Daniela and Antje completed a one-month research stay in Moldova and Romania as part of the RuWell project. To prepare for the upcoming quantitative surveys in Moldova and Romania, they conducted semi-structured interviews with villagers in both countries. Among other things, they asked what people understand by a good life, how connected they feel to their place of residence, and what role the natural environment, the community in the village, their neighbors, and their family play in this. They were also interested in migration intentions and how they themselves perceive people and their stories who have already left the village.

Interestingly, many interviewees in both countries reported that they would not or only reluctantly leave their place of residence despite all the adversities such as lack of job availability, poverty, and little financial support in old age. Cohesion within the community and the family contributes significantly to a life that they describe as good. At the same time, they are concerned about increasing emigration and the possible consequences for their village and their country. In Moldova, more specifically, we had the opportunity to re-visit a winemaking region where commercially successful, as well as homemade wines are produced. Here we could observe how winegrowing can result in economic, social, and symbolic benefits, fostering a positive attachment to the region for the people involved.