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Migration, Class, and Transnational Identities

Croatians in Australia and America

Val Colic-Peisker

Publication Year: 2008

Harnessing concepts and theories from sociology, anthropology, and political science, this interdisciplinary study compares the vastly different experiences of two Croatian immigrant cohorts who have settled in the city of Perth in Western Australia. The populations explored represent an earlier group of working-class migrants arriving from communist Yugoslavia from the 1950s to 1970s and a later group of urban professionals arriving in the 1980s and 1990s as 'independent' or skills-based migrants. This latter group integrated into professional ranks but also used their Australian experience as a stepping stone in becoming part of a highly mobile global professional middle class. _x000B__x000B_Employing a refined theoretical analysis, this rich ethnography challenges the domination of the ethnic perspective in migration studies and the idea of ethnic community itself. It emphasizes the importance of class, focusing on the intersection of class, ethnicity, and gender in the process of migration, migrant incorporation and transnationalism. In theorizing the connection of the two migrant cohorts with their native Croatia the study introduces concepts of "ethnic" and "cosmopolitan" transnationalism as two distinctive experiences mediated by class.

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Series: Studies of World Migrations


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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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p. v

List of Tables and Figures

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p. vii

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Series Preface

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pp. ix-x

Migration, Class, and Transnational Identities is the third volume in the “Studies of World Migrations” series, following Leo Lucassen’s Immigrant Threat: The Integration of Old and New Migrants in Western Europe since 1850 and Nancy Green and François Weil’s edited collection Citizenship and Those Who Leave: The Politics...

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pp. xi-xiv

This book is an outcome of several years of research conducted in Australia and Croatia and driven by a combination of personal and scholarly interest in migration and transnationalism. My greatest thanks go to my respondents, who generously gave their time and narrated their migration experiences with passion, humor...

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pp. 1-28

At the time I started fieldwork for this study, I was called to an interpreting assignment to help an elderly Croatian woman undergo a psychiatric assessment. Mara was in her early eighties and lived alone in her old home in Northbridge, an inner-city suburb of Perth.1 Her children were concerned about her ability to cope...

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1. The Homeland

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pp. 29-53

On a hot day in July 1997 I was walking down Zagreb’s main street, Ilica, zigzagging through the crowd on the pavement, deafened by the iron clamor of trams passing by frighteningly close. I jumped into one and ended up pressed against a stranger, my nose filled with the summer smells of too many people cramped...

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2. The Global Context

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pp. 54-69

Over the past several decades, the process of globalization intensified and diversified world migration. Although population movements flow in a variety of directions and for a variety of reasons, the most massive migration flows still run from less-developed to more-developed countries (Castles and Miller 2003). In this context...

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3. The Hostland: A Designed Nation

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pp. 70-90

Australia is one of the world’s youngest settler nations, and it relentlessly attracts large numbers of immigrant settlers as well as an increasing number of transients: tourists, young people on working vacations, professionals and executives on job...

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4. Farewell My Village by the Sea: Working-Class Croatians in Australian Suburbia

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pp. 91-127

I first met Anna, who was to become my first interviewee from the older cohort, one early morning when I was booked for an interpreting job in the largest city hospital. It turned out that two women waited for me there, a frail eighty-five-year-old in a wheelchair, and Anna, who accompanied her elderly relative. This...

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5. Ubi Lucrum, ibi patria: Incorporation and Transnationalism of the Professional Cohort

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pp. 128-156

The urban and “Westernized” generation of young professionals who completed their education in Croatia during the 1980s expected their formal skills to be the basis for a satisfying professional career, but their expectations were seriously frustrated by the prolonged economic and political crisis during the terminal..

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6. The Croatian Diaspora: Transnationalism, Class, and Identity

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pp. 157-179

The concept of diaspora gained considerable currency in the sociology of migration in the 1990s.1 The idea that originated in the historic experience of the scattering of Jewish people outside their native land implies that a community—normally a nation inhabiting a compact territory—experienced a forced dispersion...

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7. From Communism to Capitalism: Altered Values and Shifting Identities?

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pp. 180-204

The study of two cohorts of Croatians in Australia shows that class determines people’s values, identities, and experience of transnational migration as much as, if not more than, ethnicity. Over the past decades, however, the ethnicity perspective has dominated migration studies and class has been neglected as an analytical...

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Conclusion: Between or Beyond Nations? Class, Ethnicity, and Transnationalism in the Global Century

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pp. 205-218

This study captured two cohorts of Croatian Australians in a specific moment of their migration process, while their transnational lives were continuing and transforming. As transnationalism theory has postulated, migration is an ongoing process that does not finish either at the moment of landing in the new country...


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pp. 219-228


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pp. 229-248


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pp. 249-252

E-ISBN-13: 9780252090868
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252033605

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2008

Series Title: Studies of World Migrations
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OCLC Number: 867793918
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Migration, Class, and Transnational Identities

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Croats -- Australia -- Social conditions.
  • Croatian Americans -- Social conditions.
  • Immigrants -- Australia -- Social conditions.
  • Immigrants -- United States -- Social conditions.
  • Croats -- Australia -- Ethnic identity.
  • Croatian Americans -- Ethnic identity.
  • Transnationalism.
  • Globalization -- Social aspects.
  • Australia -- Ethnic relations.
  • United States -- Ethnic relations.
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