Igor Petričević
Igor Petričević

Telephone: +46 (0)8 16 19 96
E-mail: igor.petricevic@socant.su.se
Room: B664

Igor Petričević is a PhD student at the Department of Social Anthropology since September 2016. His doctoral research will explore the intersections of the economic crisis and migration crisis in Zagreb, Croatia.

After finishing his BA in Sociology and Anthropology (2009-2012) at the University of Zagreb, Croatia, he received his MSc in Social and Cultural Anthropology (2013-2015) at the University of Leuven in Belgium with the thesis: “Navigating the Crisis and Negotiating Mobility: Trajectories of Highly Educated Southern European Youth in Uncertainty”. This thesis explored the meaning-making processes accompanying mobility of young people from Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Croatia during the uncertain times of crisis and austerity on the EU’s periphery.

He also holds an MA in European Studies: Transnational and Global Perspectives (2016-2016) from the University of Leuven where he started delving into the interrelationships between recent international migration flows across the Balkan route (Slavonski Brod) and Croatians’ memories of the 1990s war.

PhD research at Stockholm University

Belated Multiculturalism in Croatia: Construction and Negotiation of the New Diversity in Zagreb

Croatia has traditionally been an emigration country. Moreover, due to its geographical location in South-Eastern Europe, it mostly served as a transit country. However, as a result of Europeanisation, and more specifically, strengthening of the European borders in the Balkans and the Mediterranean during the ‘migration crisis’, increasing numbers of transit migrants face potential long-term settlement in the margins of Europe. As Croatia is a member-state of the EU since 2013, but is still awaiting accession to the Schengen Area, the ambiguity of passage and rejection resulting from the border contradictions opens up an unstable space across which the new diversity emerges. Considering that previous immigrations, as well as refugee movements in Croatia have been mostly from the countries of former Yugoslavia, individuals, groupings and the emanating communities of migrants from the Middle East and Africa are characterised by particular ‘visibility’. As a contrast to the post-WW2 welfare states of Western Europe, migrations and settlements from these regions to Croatia are characterised by ‘mixedness’, securitisation, precarity, anxiety and uncertainty. Arriving decades ‘late’, in the moment of the right-wing backlash against ‘difference’ across Europe, the subjectivities embodying and creating the new ‘multiculturalism’ take a distinct shape in Croatia’s capital city.

Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Zagreb between 2017 and 2018, the research focuses on the ways the new diversity in Croatia is constructed and negotiated through practices and interactions among former migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, local residents, and activists in the interplay with the changes in border regimes, migratory routes and legislation. General aim is to unpack parts of this new multiculturalism via an ethnography in the reception neighbourhood and other contact spaces where it is experienced through everyday face-to-face interactions, practices, attitudes and feelings, by both migrants and non-migrants.

Given Croatia's, and the Balkans' in general, geopolitical and epistemological position at the ‘margins of Europe’, and as a ‘buffer zone’ between the West and the East, the arrival and settlement of new “diverse” subjects from the Middle East and Africa gives rise to ambiguous racialisations and boundary negotiations. Migrants’ experiences and strategies to “fit in”, as well as local reactions to the presence of these new “Blacks and Arabs” in public spaces, reveal the situational and shifting understandings of difference where ideas of race, religion, and language are both crucial and challenged in social interactions.

Furthermore, with the chronicity of migrant arrivals, the research highlights the gradual transformation of the feeling of reluctance towards acceptance of staying in Croatia among the migrants, as well as the dynamic oscillations between perceptions of danger and spectacle, resistance and indifference, compassion and rejection among Croatian citizens. Experiences and memories of the 1990s war in Croatia seem to mediate the dynamics of staying by exacerbating both empathy and xenophobia depending on social class, existing ideological divisions and situational context.



  • EASA Conference 14-17 August 2018, Stockholm University, Sweden: “Staying, Moving, Settling”. Presented the paper “Migration, Local Memories, and Urban Encounters: Spatial, Temporal, and Emotional Negotiation of Diversity in Zagreb’s Margin”.


  • SANT Conference 6-8 April, 2017, Stockholm University, Sweden: “Location and Navigation”. Presented the paper “Multiple Marginalities and the New Diversity in Croatia: Spatio-temporalizing Group Boundaries on the Periphery”.


  • International “Border Crossings” Student Conference 21-24 April 2016, University of Zagreb, Croatia: “Ethnographies of (un)certainty, (in)equality, and hope(lesness): Challenges and Possibilities for Anthropology Today”. Presented the paper “Navigating the Crisis and Negotiating Mobility: Trajectories of Highly Educated Southern European Youth in Uncertainty”.