Global Minds, Local Bodies: Kosovar Transnational Connections Beyond British Columbia

Kathy Sherrell, Jennifer Hyndman

Abstract


In 1999, 905 Kosovar refugees settled in the province of British Columbia (BC) in Canada. Despite their sudden and forced departure, many have maintained contact with and returned to visit Kosovo/a. We contend that these transnational links are different for refugees than for other classes of immigrants. In this case, “refugee transnationalism” refers to the social, cultural, economic, and political relations that Kosovar refugees in Canada keep with those in Serbia and Montenegro (formerly the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia). A salient feature that shapes Kosovar transnationalism is the uncertain status of the region of origin, namely Kosovo/a. Based on interviews and focus groups with Kosovars in seven BC cities, we discuss the quality and distinctiveness of transnational links among this refugee group and their implications for settlement and integration in Canada.

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