The proposed paper will map and evaluate forced migratory currents in the 20th century North-Eastern Adriatic region, which were a consequence of wars and post-war sociopolitical changes. The observed territory is defined by the historical intersection of Romanic, Slavic and Germanic cultural spaces, while its historical writings were largely shaped by the national perspective, mutating the multilayered migratory reality into a simplified, often politically instrumentalized image. The paper aims to elucidate complex migratory processes, stemming from the referential theoretical proposition on migratory counter-currents and with a certain sensitivity for statistically less obvious (and therefore often neglected) forms of forced migrations. Refugees will we also be highlighted in the intersectional perspective, putting a great emphasis on gender, but also ethnic origin, political opinion, religion, age, and social status, each recognized as crucial in shaping their refugee experience. By taking into account findings from migration history studies, the paper brings up conceptual dilemmas when dealing with refugee issues. Refugees, bearers of sudden, yet intense demographic changes, cannot be clearly separated from other forms of migration if observed very carefully. Moreover, refugees have often oscillated between a forced and voluntary decision to leave their homes. Discussing refugees also brings up considerations related to the status of a refugee, which was imposed on fleeing peoples by a complex set of authorities (be it national, international, humanitarian etc.). The refugee status was often manipulated – by state and refugees alike – in relation to granting refugees social assistance (asylum, financial support, allowances, access to housing etc.). The paper is based particularly on archival material, ego-documents and is embedded in referential studies from the field of European migration history studies, thus enhancing the comparative and explanatory potential of the observed territory.


Urška Strle