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Accepted Paper:

Belgrade in autumn: the making of everyday life for migrants from the Middle East passing through Serbia  
Vesna Vucinic-Neskovic (University of Belgrade)

Paper short abstract:

This is an account of how migrants from the Middle East accommodated themselves in two Belgrade parks situated next to the main city bus station, and how their daily life was shaped with the assistance of the health institutions, religious communities, NGOs, and individual volunteers.

Paper long abstract:

The two Belgrade parks situated next to the main city bus station became stop-over places for the migrants from the Middle East passing through Serbia on their way to the European Union. From June 2015 onward, the number of migrants had been visibly increasing to reach the peak in August, when the parks became crowded camping sites for the Syrian, Afghani and Pakistani travelers that stayed there from a few hours to a few days. Following the practice I established for my Urban Anthropology courses at the University of Belgrade, to capture and study (in a lab-like setting) the most critical social/cultural phenomena occurring in the city, a group of 30 junior year students formed an ad hoc project to investigate the situation in-and-around the incoming migrants. The focus was placed on three groups -- the migrants staying in the parks, the institutions and NGOs providing on the spot assistance, and the Belgraders working or living in the vicinity.

Based on fieldwork observation and interviews performed in autumn 2015, this paper will present how the migrants' everyday life was being created at interface of the cultural practices they brought along from their countries of origin, the given spatial and infrastructural setting in the two Belgrade parks, and the assistance provided by their temporary institutional and individual caretakers. The paper will discuss the lessons that are to be learned about the behavior patterns of migrants appearing at stop-over places along the migration routes.

Panel P025
"Refugee crisis", European reactions and the role of anthropology [WCAA Panel]
  Session 1