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Strangers Either Way

Strangers Either Way: The Lives of Croatian Refugees in their New Home

Jasna Čapo Žmegač
Nina H. Antoljak
Mateusz M. Stanojević
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Strangers Either Way
    Book Description:

    Croatia gained the world's attention during the break-up of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. In this context its image has been overshadowed by visions of ethnic conflict and cleansing, war crimes, virulent nationalism, and occasionally even emergent regionalism. Instead of the norm, this book offers a diverse insight into Croatia in the 1990s by dealing with one of the consequences of the war: the more or less forcible migration of Croats from Serbia and their settlement in Croatia, their "ethnic homeland." This important study shows that at a time in which Croatia was perceived as a homogenized nation-in-the-making, there were tensions and ruptures within Croatian society caused by newly arrived refugees and displaced persons from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Refugees who, in spite of their common ethnicity with the homeland population, were treated as foreigners; indeed, as unwanted aliens.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-318-1
    Subjects: Anthropology, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Maps
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Maps
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    Massive population displacements occurred in the former Yugoslavia, particularly in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and Vojvodina, during the 1990s (see map 1). The migrations took place within and outside of the former Yugoslav republics and provinces and ranged over various ethnic groups, particularly among the Croats, Serbs, and Muslims in the initial period, and later also the Albanians. Migration across the borders of the former Yugoslav republics resulted in ethnic homogenization of previously heterogenous populations.

    Two types of migration can be differentiated in regard to the permanency of resettlement. The majority of the people were forced out of or fled from...

  7. Chapter 1 The Ethnology of Individuals
    (pp. 5-36)

    European ethnology deals with so-called “ordinary” people and directs its attention at their cultural expression: material possessions, utilitarian objects, oral and written tradition, habits, particular activities, and modes of behavior. All of these types of cultural phenomena rely on the corresponding images and conceptions. Therefore, everyday reality consists of two layers and can be studied on two levels: at the level of observation and at the level of representations.

    At the end of the 1980s, the respected German ethnologist, Helge Gerndt (1988: 9) claimed that European ethnology up to that time had dealt more with the external cultural world, the...

  8. Chapter 2 Srijem Croats Talk About Themselves
    (pp. 37-48)

    Interlocutor: “I saw what was brewing and I went to Zagreb [in Autumn, 1991], saw the house and said it would suit me. But that Serb came immediately [to Srijem] the next week, the one from Brdovac [in Croatia], and one thing and another, and said, ‘Let’s do it.’ R. [informant’s wife] thought we should go. We did it all in a hurry. You had to run for it now, you had to go. I was the first [to go] of the more prominent people in the village, you know. We packed almost everything and we left. However, when we...

  9. Chapter 3 Identity Building in the Local Environment
    (pp. 49-74)

    In this chapter I will analyze individual identity-building strategies with the help of which the newcomers to Gradina attempt to bridge the chasm between their earlier and current life, with each having its own value code (cf. Camilleri 1998: 253–254). The chasm has emerged as a result of the drastic change in their life and in their social circumstances which they experienced because of the forced migration. Striving to make sense of their earlier and new experiences, the settlers find ways to relate their experiences to each other so as to redefine their understanding of themselves both as persons...

  10. Chapter 4 The Older Generation and the Migration
    (pp. 75-94)

    In this chapter, I will examine in detail the situation of the older generation before and after their migration. Firstly, I will discuss the reasons for the migration as well as the role and the responsibility of the older generation of Srijem Croats in making the decision to resettle and in choosing the resettlement site in Croatia; secondly, I will consider the changes that occur in their lives and the lives of their children and grandchildren in the new environment. This chapter is based on conversations with the elderly population, 65 years of age or older, and encompasses the population...

  11. Chapter 5 Constructing Difference, Identifying the Self
    (pp. 95-122)

    Previous chapters have indicated that a smooth integration of the migrants into the local community is neither easy nor a foregone conclusion. Similar to other coethnic migrants—for example, Greek, German, Czech, and the like—the Srijem migrants, after settling in their “ethnic homeland,” realize that life in a different sociocultural milieu has made them different from the local population, and, consequently, that shared ethnonational belonging does not guarantee their customs, worldviews, and mentalities will resemble those of their new co-citizens. Differences that they perceive between their mores and those of the people in the area of settlement serve as...

  12. Chapter 6 Between Individual and Collective Integration into Croatian Society
    (pp. 123-150)

    The coethnic migration of the Croats from Srijem is approached here from the point of view of their association—the Community of Croatian Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons from Vojvodina (Zajednica prognanih i izbjeglih Hrvata iz Vojvodine)¹—founded at the end of 1991 with the intention of promoting the interests of the migrants. I argue that the foundation and the activities of the migrant association in (re)presenting and incorporating the migrants could be viewed as a process of their constitution as a particular ethnic (or subnational) group within the Croatian national community. The migrants’ constitution as a subnational community is...

  13. Chapter 7 Community, Identification, Interaction
    (pp. 151-184)

    So far I have analyzed the notions that the Srijem Croats hold about themselves and about their neighbors, the old residents in the surroundings of Virovitica. Along with treating, in each chapter, some of the particular theoretical themes in the field of studying migration and ethnicity (the relationship between ethnicity and culture, the cultural logic of identity, integration into the host society), I have discussed the processes of individual and collective identification of the newly settled Srijem Croats at the local and at the broader social level.

    In chapter 3, I discussed the identification strategies of the Srijem settlers in...

  14. Epilogue: Ethnologist and Her/His Public
    (pp. 185-200)

    Discussions about the reception of ethnographic work and writing are not numerous in anthropological literature (but see, e.g., the collection edited by Brettell 1993), and are practically nonexistent in Croatian ethnology. However, in European ethnologies that deal with their respective societies, the reception of ethnographic texts—primarily by the group researched, but also by society at large—becomes a significant issue. There seems to be a crucial reason why this is so: writing about Others proximate in several respects (geographically, socially, culturally, etc.) European ethnologists publish in the language they share with the researched group and the general public (cf....

  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 201-210)
  16. Index
    (pp. 211-216)