The Destruction of Multiethnic Locations: Markers of Identity and the Determinants of Residential Trajectories

Part of the Peace Psychology Book Series book series (PPBS, volume 17)


This chapter introduces a second dimension of ethnicisation: the interdependency between markers of identity and migration behaviour and how it has resulted in new (ethnic) communities of fate and the dismantling of many multi-ethnic locations. The authors hypothesise that specific structures of constraints and opportunities emerge at both the macro- and micro-sociological levels and that individual as well as collective characteristics exert a specific influence on candidates for moving and on the choice of destination. They also ask which populations’ members are more likely to change residence in specific contexts of collective violence and threat. In most areas of the former Yugoslavia, religious affiliation was an important marker of ethnic identity. The authors compare its impact with that of actual religious practice and wonder how it may combine with markers of other social affiliations—sex, level of education or birth cohort—to influence the timing, duration and destination of residential mobility, given the demographic composition and the occurrence of violent conflict in the considered areas. They also ask to what extent migrations from one region of former Yugoslavia to another followed complementary or symmetrical dynamics (e.g. resulting from ethnic cleansing). Are there alternative patterns, as for instance international migration, associated with specific sub-populations? To deal with these issues, they report analyses of residential trajectories on the basis of the life calendars of TRACES in three targeted areas: Slavonia and Dalmatia in Croatia; Bosnia-Herzegovina; and Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo. Complementary analyses of the socio-demographic characteristics of movers show that religious affiliation was an important factor of migration, whereas religious practice had almost no effect. This suggests that the pressure to emigrate temporarily or definitely was based on external identity labelling processes, rather than intrinsic individual motivations. Individuals belonging to the cohort 1957–1973 (those being between 18 and 35 years old at the beginning of the war) were also more likely to migrate than the others.


Former Yugoslavia Migration War Identity Ethnic cleansing Residential trajectories Life course 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Social and Political SciencesUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland

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