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Serbian people, Ethnicity, Adjustment (To environment), Immigrants, Trauma, War, Social integration, Social networks, Interviews


The 1990s saw the dissolution of former Yugoslavia following the decline of Communism. Ethnic cleansing campaigns resulted in the displacement of many of the region’s citizens. There is limited published research which specifically examines Serbian experiences of trauma and transformation as a result of the civil unrest. The lack of research attention that this population has received was likely influenced by the international mass media reporting of the events during this time, which portrayed the Serbs as the sole transgressors of the ethnically-driven conflicts. This qualitative study involved ten Serbian participants who migrated to Australia as a result of the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s. Through multiple semi-structured interviews with participants, eight stories were produced, where three participants co-constructed their stories. Six of these stories have been selected for presentation in this book. In analysing the interview data, eight key themes were identified. These were: changing conceptions of ethnicity; the role played by wider social networks; the importance of family throughout participants’ lives; the impact of war experiences; the experiences and impact of health difficulties; the role of grief and loss; the importance of age in shaping participants’ experiences and responses to trauma; and the importance of lifelong learning. In considering these themes, three adaptation patterns – active integration, passive integration, and segregation – were developed and are specific to the participants in the study.

Place of Publication

Adelaide, Australia


Shannon Research Press



Geographic Subject

Australia, South Australia, Australia

From fighting to freedom: Stories from Serbian Balkan war refugees


Book Location