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Original Articles Home > Acta Via Serica > Archives > Original Articles
Title Arrival at the Caspian Coast: Migration, Informality and Urban Transformation in Sumqayit, Azerbaijan
Volume Vol. 5 No. 2
Pages pp. 51~90 (all 40 pages)
Publication Date December, 2020
Keyword internal migration, mobility, urban transformation, informality, informal labor market, housing, refugees, Azerbaijan
Abstract The city of Sumqayit in Azerbaijan was famous in the USSR for its chemical plants, which supplied the whole country with plastics, detergents, and fertilizers. While production increased in the post-WWII period, young people from remote Caucasian villages were attracted as workers to the industrial settlement on the shore of the Caspian Sea and worked together with specialists from all over the USSR. Migration did not stop when the USSR collapsed. To the contrary, mobility increased as Azerbaijani refugees from Armenia and IDPs from Karabakh fled to Sumqayit, which grew to become the second-largest city of Azerbaijan. Although a generation has passed since the ceasefire, IDPs still are separately administered. In the last 20 years, more and more internal migrants have chosen the Greater Baku Region as their destination, mostly finding jobs in the informal labor market. In the post-independence transformative period, informal housing has offered migrants a place to stay in the city. Sumqayit can be regarded as an arrival city, an established urban platform for migrants who prefer internal over transnational migration.