Two Localities, Two Nation-States, Two Homes: Transmigration of Croatian Labour Migrants in Munich Cover Image

Dva lokaliteta, dvije države, dva doma: Transmigracija hrvatskih ekonomskih migranata u Münchenu
Two Localities, Two Nation-States, Two Homes: Transmigration of Croatian Labour Migrants in Munich

Author(s): Jasna Čapo Žmegač
Subject(s): Anthropology
Published by: Institut za etnologiju i folkloristiku
Keywords: transnationalism; transmigration; interstate translocality; migration; Croats in Munich

Summary/Abstract: Hannerz has drawn a sharp separation line between elite migrants and groups that he termed "ordinary labour migrants", whom he had except for a short passage, omitted from his reflections on migrants. In this presentation the author’s focus is precisely on those, to employ Hannerz' metaphor, footloose people, on Croatian labour migrants in Munich and the surrounding area. Moving, going back and forth between at least two places in two different nation-states appears to be the central theme of their existence, no less so than for elite migrants, or as it is argued, transmigration appears to be the basic life-style, the characteristic way of life of Croatian labour migrants in Munich. To escape the ambiguities of the "national" in the word transnational and its derivatives, but retaining the prefix "trans" ‡ in the meaning of "both moving through space or across lines, as well as changing the nature of something" (Ong 1999), the author prefers to speak of "(inter-state) translocality" and "translocal life". The latter term is also suitable because what is presented is empirical reality at the local level, and it is consistent with the argument that translocality and transmigration ‡ linking two localities in two nation-states ‡ constitute a particular way of life of the first generation of Croatian transmigrants in Munich. Four differrent modalities of transmigration are identified in the text: 1) settlement in Munich, trans-border activity oriented towards Bosnia; 2) plurilocal family life; 3) recurrent transmigration; and 4) settlement in Bosnia, trans-border activity oriented towards Germany. In the final paragraphs a comment is made on cultural implications of transmigration and on the impact of transmigration and inter-state translocality on family relations. In both domains more empirical studies are needed in order to avoid too simple conclusions.

  • Issue Year: 40/2003
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 117-131
  • Page Count: 14
  • Language: Croatian