Migration, Class and Transnational Identities: Croatians in Australia and America
15 Nov 2008
Harnessing concepts and theories from sociology, anthropology, and political science, this interdisciplinary study compares the vastly different experiences of two Croatian immigrant cohorts who have settled in the city of Perth in Western Australia. The populations explored represent an earlier group of working-class migrants arriving from communist Yugoslavia from the 1950s to 1970s and a later group of urban professionals arriving in the 1980s and 1990s as 'independent' or skills-based migrants. This latter group integrated into professional ranks but also used their Australian experience as a stepping stone in becoming part of a highly mobile global professional middle class. Employing a refined theoretical analysis, this rich ethnography challenges the domination of the ethnic perspective in migration studies and the idea of ethnic community itself. It emphasizes the importance of class, focusing on the intersection of class, ethnicity, and gender in the process of migration, migrant incorporation and transnationalism. In theorizing the connection of the two migrant cohorts with their native Croatia the study introduces concepts of ''ethnic'' and ''cosmopolitan'' transnationalism as two distinctive experiences mediated by class.