Contemporary Culture Flows and the Construction of Communities and Identities

Principal researcher: Jasna Čapo Žmegač
Researchers and associates: Petar Bagarić, 
Naila Ceribašić, Sanja Đurin, Jadranka Grbić, Valentina Gulin Zrnić, Velimir Piškorec, Iva Pleše, Sanja Puljar D’Alessio, Tihana Rubić, Goran-Pavel Šantek, Ana-Marija Vukušić

In this ethnological and cultural-anthropological project we wish to research the way in which individual and group identities and feelings of belonging are constructed in the contemporary Croatian society and in the Croatian diaspora. Our assumption is that as a result of internal and external migrations on the one hand and global cultural flows on the other, Croatian society is rapidly becoming pluralized and multiculturalized, i.e., it is becoming a net of mobile people and cultural influences of various origins. Therefore, the basic research question to be answered in this project is when, how, under which circumstances and why do individuals and groups ascribe a particular meaning to themselves and their world and shape their identities using the identification opportunities offered in the transnationalized and globalized world. We will try to answer this question by analyzing identity discourses and narrations as well as specific practices in the everyday life, in the context of intranational and transnational migratory and minority spaces, multicultural city spaces, global music trends, virtual internet and transnational religious communities. Our research hypothesis is that human communities and their identities are no longer bound to a particular territory, but are situational, temporary, fluid, partial and deterritorialized. The second hypothesis is that contemporary identities are shaped by one’s own choice, which is realized as a cultural choice and a cultural difference. The methodological and epistemological starting points of this project are close to a position between extreme realism and radical relativism and to the assumptions of ethnographically grounded theory.

The project will result in several monographs, collections of papers and two dissertations. Among those we underline the collection of papers which discusses ethnographic fieldwork methodology in the context of the research into contemporary everyday life, the monograph about shaping and changing identities in the contemporary urban context of the Croatian capital, the monograph dealing with the strategies of integration of minority communities, the monograph dealing with multifarious identities shaped by music discourses and practices in Croatia.

The research will yield results relevant for the creation of a tolerant multicultural society and for the formulation of educational and cultural policy aimed at sustainable development of Croatia in the 21st century.