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Intellectuals and migration

Kokanovic, Renata (2001) Intellectuals and migration. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

The focus of this thesis is on intellectuals trained as academics in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland who have settled in Australia during the 1980s and 1990s. The study explores the major issues influencing these migrant intellectuals in their decision to migrate to Australia.

The study concentrates on two crucial phases of the migration process as articulated by Demuth (2000a), the starting or decision making phase, and the sojournal phase when migrant intellectuals have more (or less) settled in their new country. Focus on these two phases allows exploration of why some intellectuals decide to emigrate, whilst others (in apparently similar circumstances) decide to remain, and why some intellectuals settle permanently in their new country, whilst others after a period of living away, repatriate.

The actual research, then, was carried out both in East Central Europe and in Australia. Intellectuals in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland were interviewed, and academic literature was explored to ascertain the position and status of intellectuals in East Central Europe before and after 1989, the year of major social and political transformation in the region. Interviews in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland dealt specifically with the views of intellectuals on emigration - whether they had contemplated emigration themselves and their opinions on the motives of others emigrating or returning.

Within the Australian context, this research involves examination of Australian immigration policies in relation to university educated immigrants, and analysis of in-depth interviews conducted with academics from Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland who have settled in Australia. East Central European emigration trends and Australian immigration policies are discussed jointly to gain a general sense of the context in which the interviewed academics migrated. The interviews conducted with East Central European academics encompass issues relating to their current circumstances in Australia, their experiences with diverse university cultures, how they interpret their biographies and construct relationships with their countries of origin by means of maintaining links with their former colleagues and academic institutions in East Central Europe. Interviews also explore the possibility of repatriation.

This study provides an insight into the current position of intellectuals in East Central Europe and how this position is viewed by East Central European academics settled in Australia. It is proposed in the thesis that the social role of intellectuals in East Central Europe has declined after 1989, and that this has influenced the intellectual identity of both intellectuals who remained in East Central Europe and those who immigrated to Australia.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: Division of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education
Supervisor(s): Baldock, Cora
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/50622
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