Trans-Local Communities in the Age of Transnationalism: Bosnians in Diaspora

Citation:

Halilovich, Hariz. 2012. “Trans-Local Communities in the Age of Transnationalism: Bosnians in Diaspora: Trans-Local Communities: Bosnians in Diaspora.” International Migration 50 (1): 162–78. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2435.2011.00721.x.

Author: Hariz Halilovich

Abstract:

Today, Bosnians represent one of the newly emerging and the most widely dispersed diasporic communities from the Balkans. There are large communities of Bosnians living in almost every European country, as well as throughout North America and Australia. Most were displaced during the 1992–1995 Bosnian war, in which 2.2 million people were forced to leave their homes, 1.6 million of whom looked for refuge abroad. In contrast with, and in response to, the enforced displacement, many members of the Bosnian diaspora have retained strong family and other “informal” social ties with both Bosnians in other countries and those still living in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH, or Bosnia). Such ties – focused on preservation of cultural memory and performance of distinct local identities – form the basis of the global network of the Bosnian diaspora and its link with the original home (land). In this paper, I briefly outline the links and networks that constitute diaspora, and then go on to explore the extent to which recent scholarly literature is able to “capture” the uniqueness and complexity of the Bosnian diasporic communities in Australia, the United States (U.S.) and Europe. Finally, I attempt to define the concept of “trans-localism” and how it is (per)formed, and suggest that the predominantly “transnational” conceptual framework within the migration studies needs to be expanded to include “trans-local” diasporic identity formation among displaced Bosnians and similar diaspora groups.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnic/Communal Wars, Nationalism, Violence Regions: Europe, Balkans Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina

Year: 2012

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