Forgotten Trauma: A Case Study of Yugoslavian Pre-War Migrants
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Before the outbreak of the Yugoslavian Civil War, numerous Yugoslavian’s left the country to work elsewhere. During the war, these Yugoslavian pre-war migrants were forced to witness their country fall apart whilst living away from their homeland. Despite the life-changing impact the war had on their lives, primarily in the form of identity trauma, a form of trauma that sees an individual’s national and personal identity shattered as a result of witnessing a traumatic event, there are currently no studies that have analysed their experiences with the war and its traumatic consequences. As such, Yugoslavian pre-war migrants do not have a clear place within the academic (war-)trauma literature. This thesis is the first step in establishing that position. I have attempted to do this by comparing the experiences of Yugoslavian pre-war migrants, which I obtained via four interviews as there was no previous literature discussing said experiences, to a number of current discussions and theories surrounding (war-)trauma. This comparison has been structured according to the traumatic process, a concept that refers to the three stages an individual goes through when experiencing trauma, the initial encounter, the short-term effects, and the long-term consequences. The goal of the comparison was to determine how the experiences of Yugoslavian pre-war migrants fit into the study of (war-)trauma and how they can add to it. My results show that their experiences are very much in line with what has already been established in the academic literature. However, they also point out several crucial shortcomings in the literature, and lastly, their experiences also open up a number of new avenues for further study.