The Guest Worker as a Liminal Being: The Conceptualization of Guest Worker’s Cultural Identity

  • Dragana Antonijević Department of Ethnology and Anthropology Faculty of Philosophy University of Belgrade
Keywords:
guest workers, Serbia, life stories, cultural identity, system of value, liminality, rhetorical statements, patterns of experience, semantic analysis

Abstract

Based on life stories of Serbian migrant workers gathered through fieldwork, we shall attempt to problematize the issue of their cultural identity which is characterized by a feeling of liminality – of not fully belonging in either environment – the country of origin nor the host country. Keeping in mind that the opposition that determines the value systems, status and worldview of migrant workers is the opposition between here and there, we will apply analysis to the cognitive cultural shema and the typical rhetorical statements, which, with certain variations, appear again and again in the narratives of migrant workers. These statements form a sort of backbone to their narratives, contributing to the creation of a cultural cognitive scheme of shared experiences among migrant workers. We shall point out and interpret several other key oppositions through which the life experience and sense of identity of our migrant workers is refracted, while noting the problems and consequences of this phenomenon, for the migrant workers themselves as well as, in the wider sense, the community they belong to in their country of origin.

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Published
2011-12-06
How to Cite
Antonijević, Dragana. 2011. “The Guest Worker As a Liminal Being: The Conceptualization of Guest Worker’s Cultural Identity”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 6 (4), 1013-33. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v6i4.10.

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