Contemporary Migration Trends and Flows on the Territory of Southeast Europe

International Scientific Conference

Contemporary Migration Trends and Flows on the Territory of Southeast Europe

Zagreb, 10 and 11 November 2016

Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Zagreb and the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies, Zagreb, organised an international scientific conference entitled Contemporary Migration Trends and Flows on the Territory of Southeast Europe which was held on 10 and 11 November 2016 in the Conference hall of the Library of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb.

At the beginning welcoming notes were delivered by Dr. Marijana Belaj, Head of the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, Mrs. Corinne Meunier, Ambassador of the French Embassy in Zagreb, Dr. Dubravka Mlinarić on behalf of the Acting Director of the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies and representatives of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The aim of the conference was to comparatively analyze recent population movement trends on the territory of Southeast Europe: in Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Austria, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Macedonia and Greece. The key topics were emigration, transit, and immigration in the aforementioned countries in a broader European and global context in the last twenty years – as manifested prior to accession to the EU, during accession to the EU and after accession to the EU, as well as in the light of the current “crisis” related to refugee flows. Fifty scholars of various disciplines from twelve European countries: ethnologists and cultural anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists, demographers, geographers, historians, legal experts and others took part in the conference.

The conference was divided in nine panels with 37 presentations.

The first panel titled “Migration research: theoretical and methodological forefronts” brought several interesting topics concerning old/new conceptual, methodological and theoretical dilemmas. This panel also opened the space for discussing various modes of possible future cooperation of the scholars dealing with migration, refugee, integration and transnationalism issues.

In the second panel “Refugees and asylum: the Balkan route in focus” the presentations focused on reflecting recent events of transi(en)t movements of people – refugees and forced migrants, through the Balkan corridor/route, combining direct observations, interviews and migratory narratives in their methodological approaches.

The following panel “Refugees and asylum: ‘crisis’, flows and responses” continued to tackle similar issues, focusing also on historical, media and policy aspects of “the crisis” and crisis management approaches.

The fourth panel “Forced migration and displacement within the region” brought presentations based on the research conducted in the framework of the Regional Research Promotion Programme for the Western Balkans, involving 28 researchers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo.

The last panel of the first day titled “Integration of immigrants and minorities” focused on post-migration phenomena and processes.

The second day was opened with the panel on “Migration, labor, gender and religion” focusing on diverse entrepreneurial, religious and gender-specific factors and patterns related to migration.

The seventh panel “Migration, discourses and the media” pursued the discussion on the influence of the political, public and expert discourses, and media reporting over the migration-related topics.

The next panel “Mobilities and diaspora: decisions, experiences, returns” dealt with various forms of mobility as well as with diverse experiences and trajectories of diaspora communities.

The final, ninth panel, “Mobilities and diaspora: family, networks, lifestyles”, pushed discussion on networks, transborder activities and everyday migrant experiences, further on.

Through presentations, discussions and non-formal talks this conference managed in some of its main aims: to tackle the general trends in contemporary pre-migration, migration and post-migration processes in Southeast Europe and wider, to compare the experiences from different countries and to detect the similarities between them, while also indicating their differences and national specificities.

Connecting and networking of scholars from various disciplines with the aim of better understanding the social and all other challenges, which migrations pose to modern European societies, could serve as a basis and potential for our future collaborations.

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