Homeland calling: Transnational obligations and de-territorialized citizenship among Serbian migrants in Denmark

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A great deal of those immigrants that settled in Denmark in the 1970s and 1980s have maintained strong bonds to their communities of origin. These bonds play an important role in shaping the identities and in maintaining relationships between migrants in the receiving communities. But while the village in the country of origin to a wide extend functions as the ‘scene' upon which individual success and social status can be demonstrated (through house building, celebrations etc.), transnationalism also implies that migrants collectively are subjected to strong moral and social obligations to support the development of the homeland and the home community. This compulsion to assist is not legally justified, but is rather part and parcel of the moral universe within which the migrants move. Obviously the obligation to contribute is diffuse, something which also characterizes the rights attached. According to Mohan (2006) it can be seen as a sort of public sphere, carrying with it a sort of de-territorialized citizenship. In this sense the village/homeland becomes a platform for political, social and religious claims and practices of a transnational character.


But what is it that is being supported when migrants contribute to the maintenance of the village/place/relation? And what are the impacts on the collective identity of migrants in the receiving community?


Taking as point of departure those Yugoslavs who came to Denmark in the 1970s and 80s the presentation will focus on the institutions and practices that act to transmit relations between country of origin and the new homeland. Focus is particularly on the efforts that the Yugoslav and Serbian states have made to maintain migrants political and economic loyalty and on the effects that this has had on migrants perceptions on key notions such as democracy, citizenship and national affiliation. A key feature here is the impact of identity change from being citizens of Yugoslavia to being Serb. Also recent attempts to involve the diaspora population in development projects in the area of origin will be discuss as well as the ways in which these claims/assertions about participation challenge previously hegemonic conceptions about citizenship and ‘natural' affiliation to certain localities

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Number of pages7
Publication statusSubmitted - 2007
Event14th Nordic Migration Researcher Conference - Bergen, Norway
Duration: 14 Nov 200716 Nov 2007
Conference number: 14


Conference14th Nordic Migration Researcher Conference

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