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Folklore 78

We are pleased to present to you the special edition of Folklore: Electronic Journal of Folklore, titled “On the Move: Migration and Diasporas”, with Leena Kurvet-Käosaar and Triinu Ojamaa as guest editors. The issue brings together researchers representing a variety of fields of the humanities and social sciences. The contributions of the current volume focus on migration dominantly from the perspective of the individual and highlight, in particular, the crucial importance of the ways in which social engagements and bonds and communication networks are formed and function (or fail to function) on individual and collective levels in the context of forced and voluntary migration.
In the article “The Kosovo Conflict and the Changing Migration Patterns of the Gorani Community: Continuities and Shifts”, Ivaylo Markov takes under observation the Gorani people, defining them as an “archetypal migrant community”, thus referring to their everlasting “being-on-the-move” that has been caused by various reasons and realized in different ways.
Desislava Pileva in her article “From Mobility to ‘Exile’. Shifting Co-Presence: Narratives of Bulgarian-Syrian Families in Bulgaria” examines changes in the migration practices of four mixed families, in which one of the spouses is a Syrian, following the outbreak of an armed conflict in Syria in 2011.
In the article “Uncertainties of Transnational Belonging: Homeland Nationalism and Cultural Citizenship of Lithuanian Immigrant in the USA” Vytis Čiubrinskas takes under comparative observation the representatives of two different migration waves, the first of which was triggered by World War II and the second one by the collapse of the Eastern Bloc in the 1980s–1990s. The author aims to demonstrate how the migrants of different waves – forced and voluntary – use their social ties and cultural resources for coping with their transnational belonging.
The article titled “Emotional State and Inequality among Lithuanian Emigrants” by Dainius Genys, Ilona Strumickienė, and Ričardas Krikštolaitis is based on a survey conducted in 2018 among the migrants from Lithuania in Scandinavian countries,Great Britain, and Southern Europe. The research team approaches the issues of unemployment, low wages, and poor living standards from a novel perspective of the emigrants’ emotional state, which often remains in the background or is completely overshadowed by economic problems.
Maija Runcis’ contribution, “Estonian Diaspora in Sweden: An Analysis of the Collection ’Life Destinies’ at the Swedish Nordic Museum“, demonstrates how the archival collection produces a narrative about World War II refugees of Estonian origin in Sweden, which underlines their adaptation to Swedish society at the expense of other elements of identity, most importantly their Estonian identity.
In the article titled “Traces of Trauma in Estonian Women’s Life Narratives of World War II” Maarja Hollo deals with the mediation of the traumatic impact of witnessing warfare and the escape journey to the West. Hollo also distinguishes two temporalities: secure and beautiful childhood before World War II and shook-up life order after the beginning of World War II, the escape to the West and the years spent in displaced persons’ camps. Hollo claims that life narratives rarely contain detailed descriptions of traumatic experiences and discusses the possible reasons for that.
In the article “The Task of a Cultural Researcher: Telling the Story of Siberian Estonians” Anu Korb interprets the mission of a researcher based on her sixteen academic fieldwork trips to Estonians living in Siberia in 1991-2016. Korb discusses various migration practices in the nineteenth century and in the first decades of the twentieth century: voluntary emigration, deportation, and remigration. She also sheds light on the relationship between the researcher and his/her subject, explaining that the researcher as an outsider can shift more and more into the insider’s position and as a result become a spokesperson for the subject in society.
Stephan Steiner in his essay “Deportation and the Crises of [Early Modern] Europe: A Brief Historical Introduction” outlines the prehistory of deportation as an avant-garde demographic policy, the aim of which was, first and foremost, to clean certain territories from “unwanted elements”. He argues that the roots of the crisis we have to face today, and the ways “how we came to where we are” can be traced back to the past practices of forced migration.
The article from the editorial board, „Through the Apulian Streets: The Liminal Space-Time of the Holy Week’s Processions“ by Vito Carrassi, builds on the author’s fieldwork carried out between 2013 and 2015, and focuses on the importance, significance and specificity that the religious and devotional processions have in many Apulian sites.The participants of these processions act as mediators between the common and the uncommon, the secular and the sacred, the worldly and the otherworldly; in these ritual dramas some sacred symbols leave their ordinary, static dimension to acquire an extraordinary, dynamic, and more engaging role.
The articles are followed by an interview with Michael Witzel, an overview of the conference on comparative mythology by Marina Valentsova, and two book reviews.
The issue is accessible online at

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