Accepted Paper:

"Homecoming" and "home" revisited: the case of co-ethnic "return" migrations  


Jasna Capo (Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research Zagreb)

Paper short abstract:

The paper will deal with the “homecoming” of the Croats from Serbia into Croatia after the collapse of Yugoslavia in 1991. It will discuss the redefinitions of home, homeland, and belonging of the migrants in the process of their incorporation into Croatian society.

Paper long abstract:

The presentation will deal with the "return" of "(co-)ethnic migrants" into their "ethnic homeland". Co-ethnic migrations were engendered by the reconfiguration of political landscape after major 20th century-wars and the demise of the communist regime in Europe at the end of the last century. Both of these resulted in transitions from multinational empires or states to new nation-states in which some ethnic groups were overnight transformed into national minorities. Many of them resettled - more or less forcibly - in their "ethnic homelands", that is in the countries in which their ethnicity represents the majority of the population. The list of such population displacements in the European history can hardly be exhausted (to name just a few: during and after World War I, Balkan Muslims and Greeks were exchanging their areas of settlement; after the collapse of the Habsburg Empire, the German Kaiserreich and the Soviet Union ethnic Germans from those areas resettled in Germany, etc.).

In particular this paper will deal with the "homecoming", i. e. the resettlement of the Croats from Serbia in Croatia after the collapse of Yugoslavia in 1991. Did they indeed "return home" as the State apparatus put it? Or was their "return" controversial and their expectations of their new homeland deceived? How did they, in the process of incorporation into the Croatian society, redefine their sense of belonging and their relationship to the homeland where they came from (their real homeland) and the homeland they settled in (previously the symbolic homeland)?

Panel W083
Homecomings in transnational age: visible projects, forged practices?