Transnational Migration – Challenges to Croatian Society (076-0762385-2378)


Timeline: 2007-2013
 
Head of the Project: Saša BOŽIĆ 
Researchers: Sanja CRNKOVIĆ-POZAIĆ, Silva MEŽNARIĆ, Alka OBADIĆ, Jelena ZLATKOVIĆ WINTER 
Junior Researchers: Simona KUTI, Rebeka MESARIĆ ŽABČIĆ, Dubravka MLINARIĆ, Marina PERIĆ-KASELJ 
Foreign Associates: Walter LALLICH, Maria de Nazaré Oliveira ROCA 
Technical Stuff: Vladimira MARIĆ
 

Brief description of the project

 
Transnational migrations supplement and transform the basic traits of previous forms of migrations. This trend is also apparent in the case of Croatia. Migrations across the borders of nation-states do not represent a single movement from one nation-state to another but develop into transnational migrations. Their basic characteristics are: greater variations concerning durability of dwelling in the new destinations, greater frequency of movement across boundaries, greater seasonal variations as well as the production of multi-dimensional economic, political, cultural transnational social spaces. Migrants do not only connect two national societies but also create a new space of intense ties across the boundaries.
The basic premise of the proposed research is that, in the Croatian case, migrations over the boundaries of the nation-state develop into transnational migrations. In addition to the existing migration flows, the new forms of mobility are developing and new transnational social spaces are emerging over Croatian boundaries.
The main goals of the research are:

 

  • To determine the intensity, durability and frequency of the main migration flows and special mobility (especially emigration, immigration (regular and irregular) flows, transit migrations, as well as seasonal labour and consume mobility, re-migration of Croatian labour migrants, etc.) over Croatian boundaries;
  • to explain the structure and the form of transnational social spaces over Croatian boundaries as well as forms, characteristics and distribution of social capital of the most significant transnational migrant networks across Croatian boundaries.
  • To determine and to compare the basic similarities and differences between the Croatian case and typical transnational migrations.
  • To determine the basic social consequences of migration flows over Croatian boundaries (especially the forms of interaction between the immigrants and the "host" population, general public reactions concerning migration flows, integration of immigrants and re-migrants etc.) as well as the main social consequences of the creation of transnational social spaces for Croatian society.
  • To suggest the measures based on research data and research experiences which can be used for the formulation of wide-ranging Croatian migration and migrant policy.

 

The combination of social science methods are used in the research, depending on the specificities of research goals: from gathering secondary statistical data on migration, mobility, naturalisation etc. to expert interviews, semi-structured interviews, survey and discourse analysis.

 

Project implementation

 

The research results show that in case of transnational migration across Croatian borders transnational social spaces develop, but unlike other cases in Europe and America, they are primarily developed by older migrant groups that acquired the status of a national minority, or whose members have a higher social and political status. Further on, new immigrant groups, such as the Chinese, develop new forms of transnational social spaces −transnational circuits. These circuits are characterized by intensive exchange of people and resources, and by stronger social norms such as reciprocity and obligation within the group which can additionally generate spatial mobility and intragroup solidarity. This can also create a solid boundary towards the majority population of the immigration society. Labour immigration is related to the existing family ties with members of the migrant group from the former Yugoslavia who already established themselves as a national minority in Croatia. Nevertheless, a significant portion of new migrants have not resolved their legal and social status which can result in frequent remigration depending on the needs of the labour market in Croatia, especially in the case of Bosniak migrants. The case of Albanian, Bosnian and Chinese immigrants in Croatia shows that transnational migration and social processes in Southeast Europe are unduly ignored. Drawing of new international borders since the 1990s has made immigration to Croatia a lasting process, and migrant groups socially and politically visible. Thick and durable network of migrants and their descendants are spread across multiple nation-states and localities. In everyday life these networks relativize and bridge geographic distance between members who started to develop transnational social spaces. Practices of migrants in different locations are determined and clearly structured by daily routine, actions and plans of other migrants in the network. Resources in transnational relationships are particularly relevant for orientation and biographical projects of all members, and are often more important than the local social and institutional relationships. New immigrant groups, especially transnationally organized and pluri-locally positioned ones, such as Chinese entrepreneurial families, require a new approach to the study of migration processes, which should be based on the simultaneous, pluri-local ethnographic research, and less on research of macroeconomic factors which supposedly direct the movement of populations across borders of nation-states. In many countries, orientations and plans of migrants in networks develop independently of opportunities and/or constraints of the labour market. This means that future studies of migration in Southeast and Central Europe as well as the study of transnational social spaces developed by new migrants must be designed as a transnational and pluri-local venture. In this way, it would be possible to encompass all aspects of everyday migrant practices, their symbolic systems as well as of migrant network organisation.
Research shows that the migration policy must also adapt to transnational migration and transnational social spaces.  Migration policy measures must be adjusted to new transnational arrangements created by migrants. The lawmakers and public officials need to communicate with members of strong and lasting migrant networks in several nation-states and locations because their arrangements can generate new migration and affect the cultural, social and political relations within Croatia.

 

The main publications:

 

Božić, Saša (2007). Strengthening cross-border cooperation in the Western Balkans regarding migration management – Croatia, in: Vladimir Petronijević (ed.). Migration Flows in South East Europe: A Compendium of National Perspectives, Belgrade: Group 484, 13-42.

 

Mlinarić, Dubravka (2009). Emigration Research in Croatia: An Overview, in: Ulf Brunnbauer (ed.). Transnational Societies, Transterritorial Politics: Migrations in the (Post)-Yugoslav Region, 19th-21st Century, Muenchen: Oldenbourg Verlag, 169-191.

 

Lalich, Vori (2010). The reconfiguration of civil society through ethnic communal development, Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 2(1): 63-79.

 

Mežnarić, Silva (2010). Migration in Croatia: What to expect?, in: Anna Krasteva, Anelia Kasabova and Diana Karabinova (eds). Migrations from and to Southeastern Europe, Ravenna: Longo Editore, 35-46.

 

Kuti, Simona and Božić, Saša (2011). Metodološki nacionalizam u društvenim znanostima: konzekvence za društvena istraživanja, Migracijske i etničke teme, 27(3): 325-344.

 

Kuti, Simona and Božić, Saša (2011). Analitičke dimenzije za istraživanje transnacionalnih aktivnosti: primjer kineskih migranata u Hrvatskoj, Revija za sociologiju, 41(3): 315-340.

 

Kuti, Simona (2012). Koncepti transnacionalnih socijalnih prostora i polja u istraživanju migracijskih i postmigracijskih procesa, Migracijske i etničke teme, 28(2): 119-141.

 

Božić, Saša and Kuti, Simona (2012). Kroatien als Immigrationsland: Transnationale soziale Räume der albanischen, bosniakischen und chinesischen Immigranten, in: Angelika Welebil  and Jörn Nuber (eds).  Gast:arbeit. Gehen – bleiben – zurückkehren. Positionen zur Arbeitsmigration im Raum Ex-Jugoslawien, Wien: Edition Art Science, 245-276.

 

Kuti, Simona and Božić, Saša (2013). Transnacionalni socijalni prostori. Migrantske veze preko granica Hrvatske, Zagreb: Jesenski i Turk (in print).