Špela Drnovšek Zorko, PhD candidate, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, and Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher in the Initial Training Network CoHaB, Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies, SOAS

The afterlife of ‘Yugoslavia’? On diasporic narratives and an intergenerational politics of significance

In my research I investigate how migrants from former Yugoslavia in Britain shape intergenerational investments by constructing imaginaries of past and present ‘homes’. I further locate such imaginations within the context of British trajectories of migration and discourses on belonging, in order to explore how spatiotemporalities come to be narrated relationally. Based on recent fieldwork conducted in London, this paper introduces the role that the idea of Yugoslavia has played within my research. What expectations might arise around the story of a past often deemed irrelevant? In what contexts does ‘Yugoslavia’ become meaningful, even if by its absence, and what are the aspects of experience and historically precarious identifications it illuminates? Drawing on ethnographic encounters, I ask how migrants’ references to a multiply narrated past function as sites of both belonging and critique in the present – and how, in the context of life in Britain, such narratives might implicate an intergenerational politics of significance.

Špela Drnovšek Zorko is a PhD candidate at the department of Anthropology and Sociology and a Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher in the Initial Training Network ‘Diasporic Constructions of Home and Belonging’ (CoHaB) at the Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies at SOAS, University of London. Her doctoral research deals with mediated memories and intergenerational narratives among migrants from the former Yugoslavia in the United Kingdom.

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