Under the sun of a foreign sky : resettlement of immigrant women from the former Yugoslav republics, Queensland, Australia

Markovic, Milica (1999). Under the sun of a foreign sky : resettlement of immigrant women from the former Yugoslav republics, Queensland, Australia PhD Thesis, Tropical Health Program, The University of Queensland.

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Author Markovic, Milica
Thesis Title Under the sun of a foreign sky : resettlement of immigrant women from the former Yugoslav republics, Queensland, Australia
School, Centre or Institute Tropical Health Program
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 1999
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Supervisor Professor Lenore Manderson
Total pages 436
Language eng
Subjects 750311 Migrant development and welfare
Formatted abstract
The aim of this research was to examine the relationship of immigration experience of women from the former Yugoslavia to social structure, social support and social networks. The research explored the social, cultural, and personal characteristics which shape the immigration experience, personal, interpersonal and institutional resources women accessed before and after settling in Australia, and the coping strategies they developed after immigration. The data presented derive from a survey of women who have come to Australia since 1991, in-depth interviews with immigrants and service providers, and participant observation. Qualitative methodology proved a useful tool to understand the social phenomenon of immigration and the social processes of incorporating immigrants into Australian society.

Given that women had no power to influence social forces which caused war and the deterioration of the economic and political situation in their country of origin, they coped with their consequences on a personal level, deciding to emigrate. Women chose to immigrate to Australia as a result of prior links with Yugoslav populations who had already migrated, their knowledge of the social, political and environmental characteristics of the country, and anticipated job opportunities for their husbands or themselves. Immigration was women's personal strategy to enhance their own and their family's well-being. The research indicated the importance of placing personal immigration experience within the social contexts of both countries of origin and destination. In addition, it revealed that the macro-structures (e.g. politico-economic contexts, immigration policy), the micro-structures (e.g. informal networks), and individual socio-demographic data (e.g. age, ethnicity, educational background) to a varying degree impact on different aspects of individual immigration experience.

Immigrants face structural barriers in entering Australian society (e.g. lack of overseas qualifications and skills recognition, lack of local work experience, limited access to English language classes). These inhibit commencement of commensurate employment, which they regard as the main indicator of adjustment. Informal networks are crucial as a coping strategy, since they reduce the risks associated with immigration. However, because individual experiences and resources are socially constructed, informal networks have sometimes been a barrier to immigrants' integration into wider society. Government and non-government services supplemented informal networks, and when perceived adequate, these facilitated women's adjustment. Most women seem to be capable of developing coping strategies to help them adjust to Australia. According to their settlement experiences, there are those who are loss-oriented, those who are ambivalent, and those who are future-oriented. Boundaries between these types are porous and immigrants cut across them during different stages of settlement and personal circumstances.

The selection of immigrants favours young and healthy people, although these criteria may be waived for humanitarian settlers and refugees. However, with residence in Australia, immigrant health deteriorates regardless of ageing. Both pre- and post-immigration factors need to be considered when studying changes in immigrant health, rather than being contributed to one context only. Pre-immigration traumatic experience is a particular issue for humanitarian settlers and refugees. Post-immigration stressors, such as social and spatial displacement of immigrants, further jeopardise immigrants' health.
Keyword Women immigrants -- Australia -- Social conditions
Yugoslavs -- Australia -- Social conditions
Additional Notes Variant title: Resettlement of former Yugoslavia born women in Australia. The University of Queensland acknowledges that the copyright owner of a thesis is its author, not the University. The University has made best endeavours to obtain author permissions to include theses in this collection, however we have been unable to trace and contact all authors. If you are the author of a thesis included in this collection and we have been unable to contact you, please email espace@library.uq.edu.au.

Document type: Thesis
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Created: Mon, 14 Dec 2009, 16:45:51 EST by Ms Natalie Hull on behalf of Social Sciences and Humanities Library Service