Accepted Paper:

The 'hidden stories' of Lussìn families: emotions and the transmission of discourses of identity among the Italian minority of Lošinj / Lussino, Croatia  

Author:

Enrico Milič (Region Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy)

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyses the Italian minority community living on the island of Lošinj, Croatia. I analyse how emotions are relevant in the private story-telling of past memories and how, in a context where Croatian nationalism is quite relevant, these hidden identity discourses rarely become public

Paper long abstract:

This paper analyses the Italian minority community living on the island of Lošinj, Croatia. I analyse how emotions are relevant in the private story-telling of past memories and how, in a context where Croatian nationalism is quite relevant, these hidden identity discourses rarely become public outside of the realms of the family and the minority community.

The theoretical framework of the research is drawn on complementary fields, including emotion studies, studies of identity formation and political conflict and studies on memory and rhetoric. My focus on emotions is based on three levels of analysis: emotions as discourses, embodied experience and performative acts.

The island of Lošinj is part of the Kvarner Region, an area barely studied by anthropologists. In 1922 the Italian fascist government took power and ruled for almost twenty years, violently oppressing the Croatian population. At the end of April 1945, these places were incorporated into communist Yugoslavia. From 1945 to 1955, in a context of violent ethnic revenge, 80-90% of the Italians decided or were forced to leave, mainly to Italy, but also to the United States and Australia. Since then, both in communist Yugoslavia and the more recent Croatian state, the remaining Italians have often been discriminated against.

Ethnographic fieldwork has investigated the stories that are transmitted through members of families across the generations. The stories, although they can be about tiny episodes of everyday life, are symbolic of past and current attempts, failures and successes of coexistence between the Croatian and Italian ethnic groups.

Panel W059
Experiencing borders and boundaries in the post-socialist Southeastern Europe (SEE)