Social innovations and social identities: Civic initiatives of the Slovak migrant community in Ireland Cover Image

Social innovations and social identities: Civic initiatives of the Slovak migrant community in Ireland

Author(s): Magda Petrjánošová, Barbara Lášticová
Subject(s): Anthropology
Published by: Ústav etnológie a sociálnej antropológie Slovenskej akadémie vied
Keywords: social identity; social innovations; transnational migration; Slovakia; Republic of Ireland

Summary/Abstract: The aim of this paper is to provide basic information about the life cycle of the Slovak migrant community in Dublin in 2004 – 2013. The empirical material is presented from three theoretical perspectives: theory of social innovations (Mumford, 2002), theories of social identity (Turner et al., 1987) and theories of transnational migration (Glick Schiller et al., 1995). The first part of the paper describes the creation and development of two social innovations: the migrant NGO Slovak Centre – Ireland and the magazine Slovak in Ireland. The second part analyses whether and how these innovations create space for everyday practice of (national) identities of migrants. The third part analyses the transnational aspects of the Slovak migrant community. The paper is based on empirical material gathered through semi-structured interviews with leaders of the Slovak community in Dublin (N=7, 2009, since then contacted continually via e-mail and Facebook), analysis of media and websites dedicated to Slovaks in Ireland (2009 – 2013) and short-term participant observation (2009). Our data suggest that social innovations described in this study are successful and sustainable especially if: 1) they are based on real needs of the community and created from below; 2) they are taking place in the context of existing systems and are financially independent of grant schemes funded by the Slovak government; 3) there is a favorable environment in the host country. It is concluded that the social innovations described in this paper have identity and community building potential and allow Slovak migrants not only to strengthen their social capital (Putnam, 2007), but also to function transnationally.

  • Issue Year: 61/2013
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 273-288
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: Slovak