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Two waves of Croatian migrants in Western Australia: Class and national identity

Colic-Peisker, V. (2016) Two waves of Croatian migrants in Western Australia: Class and national identity. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 34 (4). pp. 353-370.

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This paper examines the ways in which two waves of Croatian migrants in Western Australia have constructed their ethnic/national identity following migration. These two waves - the first took place during the 1960s and the early 1970s and the second in the late 1980s/early 1990s - are considerably different in terms of their socio-economic background. The earlier wave came from rural areas of Croatia and can be described as typically working class, while the recent wave came from the cities and predominantly consists of professional people. Migrants from the 1960s wave express a strong identification with their place (village, town, island) of origin and form a rather close-knit ethnic 'community of place'. There is a strong link between territory, ethnicity and identity in this group of migrants. Recent developments in Croatia (the war for independence) have helped to 'enlarge' this local-ethnic focus into an 'imagined' national identity. Ethno-national belonging and identification is not emphasised in the recent group of Croatian migrants. Their 'Croatianness' is secondary in the re-construction of their identity following migration. It is their professional identification that seems to be central in this process. They consider the Croatian 'ethnic community' to be irrelevant to their life in Australia and seek to integrate into the broader Australian community primarily through their professional work

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Inquiry
Publisher: Australian Council of Social Service
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