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Remaking Home: Reconstructing Life, Place and Identity in Rome and Amsterdam

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Volume 26

Forced Migration

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Remaking Home

Reconstructing Life, Place and Identity in Rome and Amsterdam

Maja Korac

196 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-391-6 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (October 2009)

eISBN 978-1-84545-956-7 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


This book provides excellent and much needed insights into the lives of refugees in general, and those from the former Yugoslavia in particular.  ·  H-Urban

“By focusing on meanings and practices of home making among refugees from former Yugoslavia in Rome and Amsterdam, Korac’s book invites readers to rethink the experience of displacement/emplacement as a complex and interconnected set of processes that produces a pluralization of identities and solidarities. This insightful perspective - overlooked in dominant institutional approaches to ‘integration’ and in a significant part of the academic literature too often driven by donors’ policy agendas and inclined toward some form of methodological nationalism - represents both a valuable contribution to the debate and an invitation to explore further the relationship between different scales of refugee governance and processes of ‘nesting’.  ·  Journal of Refugee Studies

This book – based on ethnographic qualitative research and sensitivity to cultural complexity and human resourcefulness, combining comprehensively and comparatively search material with theoretical reflections on migration cultural processes – is a valuable contribution to the ever growing migration studies literature and to our understanding of current European cultural and social tensions.  ·  Anthropological Notebooks


Rather than emphasising boundaries and territories by examining the ‘integration’ and ‘acculturation’ of the immigrant or the refugee, this book offers insights into the ideas and practices of individuals settling into new societies and cultures. It analyses their ideas of connecting and belonging; their accounts of the past, the present and the future; the interaction and networks of relations; practical strategies; and the different meanings of ‘home’ and belonging that are constructed in new sociocultural settings. The author uses empirical research to explore the experiences of refugees from the successor states of Yugoslavia, who are struggling to make a home for themselves in Amsterdam and Rome. By explaining how real people navigate through the difficulties of their displacement as well as the numerous scenarios and barriers to their emplacement, the author sheds new light on our understanding of what it is like to be a refugee.

Maja Korac is Reader in the School of Social Sciences, Media and Cultural Studies at the University of East London. She is author of Captives of Their Sex: Social Identity of Young Rural Women Between Traditional Culture and Contemporary Values (1991, Belgrade: Institute of Sociological Research, University of Belgrade; published in Serbo-Croatian), Linking Arms: Women and War in post-Yugoslav States (1998, Uppsala: Life & Peace Institute), and co-editor of Feminists under Fire: Exchanges across War Zones (2003, Toronto: Between the Lines).

Subject: Refugee & Migration Studies
Area: Europe



Introduction: Reconstructing Life, Place and Identity

  • Problems with Centring on the State
  • Rethinking Refugeehood: Focusing on Processes, Intersections and Agency
  • Liminality and Refugee Agency
  • Lived-In Worlds of Refugees: From Contexts to Processes
  • Policy ‘Solutions’ and Types of Agency They Engender
  • A Note on Method: Focus on Refugee Voices
  • An Outline of the Book

Chapter 1. The Question of ‘Home’: Place-making and Emplacement

  • Place, Home and Homeland
  • Territorially Bounded Places and Identities: Importance and Meanings
  • Orientation to Place and the Politics of Belonging
  • Links between Peoples, Places and Cultures: The Question of Community
  • Group and Cultural Identity as an Organising Principle for Incorporation
  • The Question of Community Organisations
  • Transnational Practices of Place-Making
  • Transnationalism and ‘Homelessness’
  • Ties with the New Home
  • Taking Control and Reconstructing Life

Chapter 2. Experiences of Displacement: Force, Choice and the Creation of Solutions

  • The Mass Exodus of People from War-torn Yugoslavia: The Quest for Ethnic Purity and Territorial Cleansing
  • How One Makes a Decision to Leave and Where to Go?
  • Flight and Creation of Solutions: Agency and the Role of Social Networks

Chapter 3. Regaining Control over Life: Dependency, Self-sufficiency and Agency

  • Following the Rules in the Netherlands
  • Struggling to Survive in Italy
  • Problems with Refugee Assistance

Chapter 4. Negotiating Continuity and Change: The Process of Reconstructing Life

  • Bonding Networks and the Emplacement of Refugees in Rome and Amsterdam
  • Bridging Social Networks and the Emplacement of Refugees in Amsterdam and Rome
  • Social Networks and Emplacement: The Process of Becoming ‘of Place’

Chapter 5. Transnational Lives of Refugees, Questions of Citizenship, Belonging and Return

  • Transnational and ‘Glocal’ Ties – a Sense of Continuity and Belonging
  • Transnational Strategies of Survival and Betterment
  • Transnationalism and the Changing Notion of Return
  • Citizenship: A Status or a Practice?
  • New Meanings of Citizenship, Belonging and Emplacement
  • Emplacement: A Process of Pluralisation

Appendix I

  • Refugees Interviewed in Rome
  • Refugees Interviewed in Amsterdam

Appendix II

  • Community Organisations of Nationals from the Yugoslav Successor States in Rome and Amsterdam

Appendix III

  • Contacts Made with NGOs, Church Organisations, Governmental and International Organisations in Italy and the Netherlands

Appendix IV

  • The Social Characteristics and Legal Status of the Refugees in Rome and Amsterdam

Appendix V

  • The Ethnic Background of the Refugees Interviewed


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