Refugee Integration and Citizenship Policies: The Case Study of Croatian Serbs in Vojvodina

Viktor Koska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper examines the integration experiences of Serb refugees who left Croatia during the 1990s and sought protection in Serbia. It focuses on access to citizenship and alternative legal statuses as determinants of specific integration outcomes. It acknowledges arguments from the forced migration literature that, on the one hand, accentuate refugee agency in the construction of a sense of integration, while on the other, they highlight the importance of legal aspects of the integration process. Nevertheless, this paper argues that integration represents a more complex process than the one consisting solely in an adjustment to cultural, economic, legal, political and social conditions in the host country. The context within which refugees exercise their agency during the process of integration is not determined solely by the environment of the host state, but is constructed by legal remedies that are at the disposition of the refugees in their state of origin, possibilities to restore the networks they left behind and feelings of personal identity that are associated with the previous home. In this process, citizenship policies play a complex role. They define the areas of social life in which refugees can legally act, define the nature and the scope of access to material remedies necessary for the restoration of economic livelihood in the new environment, and play an important role in the process of identity self-construction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-196
JournalEthnopolitics
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

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