Accepted Paper:

Ethnic identity and acculturation process: Bosnian immigrant adolescents in Croatia  


Lana Peternel (Institute for Social Research in Zagreb)

Paper short abstract:

This research is focused on the Bosnian immigrant adolescents in Croatia. This very sensitive population was affected by the refugee experience in the early age of their lives, but nowadays, they have to cope with demanding challenges: simultaneous integration of past experiences and the construction and definition of its own identity in the new social and cultural environment.

Paper long abstract:

By their origin the Bosnian adolescent immigrants in Croatia do not belong to ethnically and religiously homogeneous population. On the contrary, a number of them are Muslims by religion; and the rest are Catholics. In spite of numerous cultural similarities with host population in Croatia, immigrant adolescent groups and the host population originate from culturally different traditions. Depending on how these cultural differences are perceived by the host community members, the construction of ethnic identity of the adolescent immigrants may be influenced by the concealed or pronounced, institutional or personal discriminatory practices. Based on that discrepancy in the perception and comprehension of the "other", the construction of immigrant adolescent ethnic identity during the acculturation process is strongly influenced by the stereotypes, prejudices, and finally discrimination.

The goal of this paper is to show how multidimensional ethnic identification of Bosnian immigrant adolescents indicates different acculturation strategies in everyday practice and how these strategies corresponded with current acculturation orientation of host adolescent population. In that context, we will show how different cultural symbols like language or dialect become meaningful in the construction of ethnic identity and how ethnic identification could be indicator of psychological and social outcomes.

Panel W076
Children and migration in Europe: between new citizenships and transnational families