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Title: Belgrade parents and their migrant children
Author: Bajic-Hajdukovic, Ivana
ISNI:       0000 0004 2670 0347
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2008
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Anthropologists and other social scientists have striven to explain the causes and brutality of the dissolution of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s and the subsequent wars in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Kosovo. Consequently most subsequent anthropological studies have concentrated on issues of nationalism, genocide, and war crimes. Less attention has been paid to other consequences of this disintegration such as the massive internal and external migration during and after the war. This thesis examines the consequences of this outward migration from urban Serbia since the 1990s. In contrast to studies which concentrate on migrants' experiences, I focus on the relationship between elderly parents in Belgrade and their migrant children in London, New York, Toronto, and Sydney, using a material culture perspective to analyze the transformation of basic kinship ties between parents and children. This perspective provides insights into how people become or resist becoming 'refugees', 'migrants', 'guestworkers', 'Serbs' or 'mothers of emigrants.' Activities such as gifting practices, including those involving food and drinks are shown to have a significant impact upon social status both in countries of origin and destination. During twelve months of ethnographic fieldwork carried out in London and Belgrade in 2005/2006, my research focused on homes, gifts and remittances, all of considerable significance to informants. These provide valuable and original insights into parent-child dynamics in the context of post- conflict migration. The most contested genre was remittances which, contrary to a prevailing development discourse, created humiliation and even disgrace among Belgrade parents more than financial relief and economic security. This forms part of a larger conclusion that for parents, their children's migration from post-1990 Serbia represents not a gain but a permanent, traumatic loss. On a larger scale, this thesis contributes to understanding social transformation and its effect on kinship ties in a post-conflict and post-communist Serbian society.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available