Accepted paper:

Migration, Local memories, and Urban Encounters: Spatial, Temporal, and Emotional Negotiation of Diversity in Zagreb's Margin


Igor Petričević (Stockholm University)

Paper short abstract:

The paper presents research on relationships among locals and migrants in Zagreb, Croatia. Emphasis is on how the intersection between transnational mobility and local memories produces place-making and group boundaries through spatial, temporal and emotional negotiation of urban encounters.

Paper long abstract:

Croatia has traditionally been seen as a sending country, in terms of the forced migration during the 1990s war that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia. Although emigration continues during the economic crisis, the post-war period, characterised by EU integration, as well as the intensification of the Balkan route of migration, resulted in the increased numbers of asylum requests in Croatia. Alongside around three hundred people whose asylum request has been approved, additional five hundred asylum seekers are located in a migrant reception centre in Dugave neighbourhood on the margin of Zagreb city. The arrival of new migrants has been accompanied by discourses about the role of the experience of the 1990s war in making Croatian citizens more receptive to the refugees. At the same time, emerging xenophobia echoes that the 1990s war was embedded in a project of (homogeneous) nation-building according to ethnic lines. By relying on ethnographic fieldwork in the neighbourhood focused on the dynamics of contact spaces, the presentation will highlight the ways in which the emerging relationships among (local and migrant) groups reflect and construct the new diversity in Zagreb. The emphasis is on the intersection between local memories, heterogeneous temporalities, spatial dynamics, emotional encounters and transnational mobility, as well as how these are entangled with the identity- and place-making processes and reconfigurations of group boundaries in the urban everyday life of the people living on the EU's periphery.

panel P162
Materializing the past and imagining the future