Skoči na glavni sadržaj

Prethodno priopćenje

Moving to an Island – Contemporary Migrations to the Island of Korčula

Marica Marinović Golubić orcid id ; Institut društvenih znanosti Ivo Pilar, Zagreb

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 784 Kb

str. 115-141

preuzimanja: 1.146



Long-term emigration of the island population has somehow blurred the fact that islands at the same time attract certain groups of newcomers (although not in large numbers). In this paper, through the case study of Korčula, the phenomenon of recent immigration to the Croatian islands (occurring after year 2000) is explored. This new population certainly attracts attention because of its possible impact on the social revitalisation of small island communities. The island of Korčula is situated in the southern part of the Croatian Adriatic coast. It is populated with around 15 thousand inhabitants in five main settlements. The main local economic activities are tourism, fishing, olive and grapevine growing. The island rhythm is seasonal with huge differences between the summer and winter months. The focus of this research was on the international and internal immigrants who spent the majority of the year on the island. The author was interested in the reasons that bring them to places that are experiencing negative demographic trends and are dominated by outmigration. The aim was to study the reasons and the context of migrants’ relocation decisions.
The theoretical background of the paper relies on the approaches that emphasise the non-economic reasons for migration (King, 2002), and migration as a result of lifestyle change (Benson & O’Reilly, 2009a). It is argued that the usual theories of labour migrants and economically motivated migrations cannot sufficiently explain the interest in migrating to areas such as islands, which are depopulated, but with valuable cultural and environmental resources. There are more and more people moving to other places and the reasons they emphasise are pleasant climate, a more beautiful or healthier environment, a better or just different lifestyle. At the same time this redefines the attractiveness of peripheral locations.
The research approach was qualitative and included fieldwork and interviews with 37 island newcomers (migrants). Three basic groups were identified according to their main connection with the island: a) return migrants (13 respondents), b) marriage migrants (12 respondents) and c) migrants without prior marital or family connections with the island (12 respondents). Return migrants have been identified in the previous similar studies as the most common immigrant group on the Croatian islands. The majority of them had left the island while in their 20s and went to mainland Croatia, different European countries, but also to overseas and came back to island upon retirement. They are not interested in seeking paid employment and the economic conditions on the island do not affect their socio-economic status, as their accumulated savings or foreign pensions allow them to live a pleasant, but not luxurious life. Their return to the island is also a quest for new daily routines that could replace their earlier obligations connected to paid work, which is why they often engage themselves in traditional activities, such as olive growing, winemaking, agriculture without commercialisation – just for their own needs. In addition to the return retirement migrants of the first generation, the results also identified second-generation migrants who return in work-active age. They are highly educated and live mostly with children (younger than 18). Most of them are employed or self-employed and have numerous initiatives on how to improve the island’s social conditions. Very often, they actively engage in the local community (politically, socially). Although the base of potential return migrants in traditional emigration areas is large, it is not to be expected that they will bring the desired demographic dynamics to the island community since there are still too few second-generation migrants returning. In the case of the island of Korčula, the circumstance that makes the return somehow easier is that the island is relatively large (compared to other Croatian islands) and provides organised primary health care and other basic services (primary and secondary schools, public administration offices, public transport, kindergartens, banks, post offices, supermarkets, restaurants, cafés, etc.).
As for the second newcomer group, marriage migrants, there were always foreign brides on the island – but the distance was smaller in the past. They mostly came from nearby villages or towns. Today, they have different national and international origins. There are two main ways of coming: by marrying an islander working in a foreign country or on a ship or by meeting and marrying an islander after a tourist or business visit to the island.
The third group, migrants without prior marital or family connections with the island, can be further divided into two sub-groups: labour migrants who occupied the previously underdeveloped small business niches on the island, such as diving or health services, and ex-tourists who saw the island as an ideal location for starting a new life.
What all three migrant groups have in common is their quest for small, safe communities with potentials in which they would be able to find more balance between work and enjoyment, work and family, and a closer connection to the community and nature.

Ključne riječi

Island of Korčula; island; immigration; lifestyle migration; return retirement migration; return migration

Hrčak ID:



Datum izdavanja:


Podaci na drugim jezicima: hrvatski

Posjeta: 2.388 *