19 / 2004
Breda Čebulj Sajko

The Ethnology and Homecomers

The ethnological studying of homecomers is tightly linked to researching emigrant life in general. Homecoming – as the final phase in the migration cyclus, composed of the life of the emigrant – then immigrant and finally homecomer, is in ethnology a poorly treated theme: in comparison to ethnological researchedness of the both first phases it has a marginal role. The author seeks the reason for such, several decades old a condition in the branch, in merely coincidental including of migrational (European, overseas) problematic into the pedagogical programme of the university studying of ethnology.
For this reason, in the systematic review of three technical-scientific publications/journals (Etnolog/Slovenski etnograf published by the Slovenski etnografski muzej since 1926; Glasnik – between the years 1956-1959 technical journal of the Inštitut za slovensko narodopisje SAZU, from 1959 to 1975 journal of the Slovensko etnografsko društvo, and from 1975 on journal of the Slovensko etnološko društvo, and Traditiones, from 1972 on miscellany of the Inštitut za slovensko narodopisje ZRC SAZU) and significant ethnological monographs and students' work in that field, in the period between 1926 and 2003 only the period of the eighties is outstanding. At that time a Seminar for ethnological research of Slovene emigration was established at the Department for Ethnology of The Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana, which developed the ethnology of emigration and homecoming in methodological and content sense. From ethnological view, homecomers from America, Australia, Argentina, Canada, Egypt, Germany, Austria, and France have been dealt with. Prevailing were descriptions of the consequences of the life of Slovenes abroad after their returnig to the homeland and their influence on source environment. The dealings comprised the time before World War I and the return of scarce “modern”, after 1945 emigrated and returned families. Soon after cessation of the activity of the mentioned seminar (1981/1982), quite in the second half of the eighties, the interest of the branch for researching emigration in general strongly declined. Thus, the actual studying of homecoming in ethnology as well as of emigration, is a good deal elemental and without proper systematic, which results in ethnology not matching other humanistic and sociological disciplines as well dealing with the mentioned thematic.
We expect more hope for a renewed prosperity of the ethnology of emigration and homecoming in the newly established custodiate for Slovene emigrants and Slovenes in the neighbouring countries, members of national minorities and other ethnicities at the Slovenski etnografski muzej.

Breda Čebulj Sajko, Ph for Ethnology, Research Associate at the Institute for Slovenian Emigration Studies of Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Ljubljana, Slovenia.