Thursday, 2 February 2017

Returnee Migration from Argentina to Croatia




Marijeta Rajković Iveta DSc, a senior lecturer for ethnology and cultural anthropology at the University of Zagreb's Faculty of the Humanities and Social Sciences, and Argentinean Croatian Paula Gadže, who has experience as a returnee, are authors of a fascinating article that examines contemporary migrant experiences among the Croatians of South America. The article first offers information on emigration from Croatian ethnic areas to Argentina in the 20th century. The article aims to depict Croatian immigrants in Buenos Aries and Rosario, the environment in which these migrants live, what they practiced with the objective of preserving their ethno-cultural and Croatian identity, the emigrant institutions they established, and how they endeavoured to describe trans-migratory experiences. The authors examine family life, the tales of the elderly members of households about Croatia, what customs the emigrants retained, whether they prepare Croatian cuisine and on what occasions, the names they give their children and whether they possess artefacts from Croatia. In the second part of the article the authors discuss the motivation behind the multiannual processes that saw Croatians move from Argentina to Croatia after the country won its independence, i.e. from the 1990s to the present day. They examine what these people knew of life in Croatia and the sources of this information and in what manner they formed an image of Croatia that intensified their desire to visit and/or move to the country. The returnees of the first generation of migrants are compared to the returnees from the generation of their descendants to a "reconstructed homeland" in which they never lived. Their life in Croatia is described, the methods in which they link Argentina and Croatia, their impressions of the country and its people, and to what extent life in Croatia differs from that in Argentina. The paper is based on discussions/interviews with Croatians from Buenos Aires and Rosario who live in Zagreb.

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