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Diversity of Migration in South-East Europe


Edited By Mirjam Zbinden, Janine Dahinden and Adnan Efendic

This interdisciplinary volume gathers recent work related to the diverse migratory movements in South-East Europe. The contributions address current aspects of emigration, immigration, transit migration and return from different disciplinary vantage points. They impressively demonstrate that South-East Europe is a highly dynamic migration region marked by a multiplicity of migration-related processes fuelled by global and especially European developments.

«This edited book presents an illuminating and stimulating range of essays on a key European and global region which has experienced an extraordinary diversity of migration types and regimes in recent decades. Employing an innovative range of methodologies, the contributions show that South-East Europe is no longer to be seen as a ‘problematic’ space of emigration and transit but as a theatre for highly dynamic mobility phenomena.» (Russell King, Professor of Geography, University of Sussex)

«This thought-provoking book makes an important contribution to understanding migration processes from, within and through South-East Europe. The innovative research approach and new insights about diversity of human mobility in the region described in the book will resonate with scholars, policymakers and broader readership within and beyond the region.» (Hariz Halilovich, Associate Professor of Anthropology, RMIT University, Melbourne)

«The thorough theoretical and empirical contributions of this volume reveal South-East Europe as a highly diversified European space of complex migration regimes and processes beyond the image of the "troubled", "ethno-national" Balkans. This timely book impressively shows how good scholarship both critically re-assesses knowledge production and points to inequalities and hierarchies on different scales.» (Jelena Tosic, Researcher and lecturer in Social Anthropology, Universities of Vienna and Berne)

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Rethinking the Debate about the Diversity of Migration in South-East Europe



In this introduction, we attempt to rethink the debate on migration in South-East Europe, which is often too narrowly focused on emigration – and, more recently, transit migration. We show that the region is marked by very diverse migration processes that are closely connected with global and especially European developments. These processes thus need to be theorized in a global context and in the light of international debates in migration studies. We first examine the diversification of migration processes since the early 1990s and then address the multiplication of actors managing migration and the hierarchization of mobility rights within the region as a result of the expansion of the European Union. Finally, we discuss how migration processes have increased diversity within societies. These considerations offer a common frame to the studies gathered in this interdisciplinary volume, each of which treats a specific aspect connected to these diverse forms of migration.

Keywords: migration, South-East Europe, diversity


Since the mid-1990s, much of the public and media debate on migration in South-East Europe (SEE)2 has tended to portray the region mainly as a problematic space of emigration and – more recently – transit migration. In the 1990s, the picture of SEE oscillated between a war-torn region producing masses of refugees after the break-up of the former Yugoslavia and a region characterized by poverty-driven emigration to Western Europe. More recently, SEE countries have again been in the spotlight because of the so-called migration crisis involving thousands...

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