34 / 2011
Mojca Pajnik

Narrating Belonging in the Post-Yugoslav Context


The article questions the validity of the notion of multiple or shifting migrant identities. I argue that such usages of identity in some transnationalism and migration regime studies and in policymaking may serve to label migrants as different. What is ignored by such accounts is that belonging is not freefloating but is situated and contextually bounded, while making “positive” identitary claims may mask the actual structural inequalities. Alternative conceptualizations are explored in which I use the concept of narration and storytelling that better describes migrants’ contextualized realities. The theoretical argument is coupled with empirical research in which various types of belonging in the post-Yugoslav context are explored using biographical interviews with migrants who live in Slovenia.

KEY WORDS: identity, hybrid identity, migrant belonging, narration, former Yugoslavia