Between History and Modernity: The Anthropological Study of Migrant Workers in the 21st Century

  • Ivan Kovačević Department of Ethnology and Anthropology Faculty of Philosophy University of Belgrade
  • Marija Krstić Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology Faculty of Philosophy University of Belgrade
Keywords:
migrant workers, transmigrants, anthropology, Serbia, Diaspora

Abstract

Half a century after the first migrant workers left to find labor in the countries of Western Europe comes the moment in which it is necessary to summarize and refocus the research into this phenomenon. The research effort has – in accordance with temporal distance and accessible documents – been joined by historians, on top of previously existing research conducted within the frameworks of demography, economy and sociology. The modest participation of anthropologists within studies of migrant workers up to the present has resulted in a scarcity of critical research questions and studies which would provide answers to them. Some issues were missed due to non-functional focusing on immigration and national minorities in neighboring countries, and can now only be studied within the context of historical anthropology. Still, it is necessary to define the directions which new research questions should take in order to make the transition from description to interpretation of phenomena stemming from the fact that over a million people from Serbia, over the last half century, have spent, or still spend a large portion of their lives working in Western European countries. This paper represents an attempt to formulate some of the possible paths contemporary anthropological research could take in the study of the semi centennial “temporary labor abroad” of Serbian citizens.

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Published
2011-12-06
How to Cite
Kovačević, Ivan, and Marija Krstić. 2011. “Between History and Modernity: The Anthropological Study of Migrant Workers in the 21st Century”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 6 (4), 969-82. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v6i4.8.

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