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Retirement migrations on Croatian islands: integration of migrants into local communities


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Bara, Mario. (2014). Retirement migrations on Croatian islands: integration of migrants into local communities. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Sociology. [mentor Mesić, Milan].

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The population of European countries, especially countries of European Union, is progressively aging and this trend is predicted to continue in the future. Consequently, the aging of population is followed by increasing numbers of those with lengthened phase of life living as retirees. Retirement period is considered to be a normal stage of life in majority of modern day societies. Developing of institution of retirement and health insurance enabled a certain number of senior citizens to leave their places of residence where they resided for decades and relocate to distant areas with more suitable environment and climate which enabled them to realize their alternative life style. Increasing number of retired persons in highly developed societies, considering the free time they have at their disposal as well as their spending power, influences international migration flows. Following the increase of share in overall population, modern day international migrant population is also registering significant rise in numbers of senior and retired persons. Croatian islands and coastline are becoming increasingly appealing to non-Croatian citizens in search of new destinations, different from Spain, Portugal, France, Malta, Italy or Greece. It is predicted that the recent acceptance of Croatia into membership of the European Union will have a positive psychological effect on a part of foreign retirees when searching for a suitable destination to relocate in their senior years. They are accompanied by a sizable number of retired returnees, Croatian citizens, who have spent their working years in western and northern European countries. Although the extent of migrations of senior and retired persons into Croatia is still relatively limited when comparing to other European Mediterranean countries, a need is arising to rethink the policy toward senior migrants in terms of enabling social and health rights, thus opening a series of questions relating to social environment in which they would reside. Retirement migrations are a popular concept although underdeveloped and of varying definitions. The aim of theoretical part of this paper is to determine relevant elements for retirement migrations as well as theoretical and empirical relevancy of concepts relating to international retirement migrations in defining new migration phenomenon. Because migrations in senior years are closely related to climate, health, lifestyle and amenity migrations, as well as their interconnected forms, it is challenging to regard them as a unique concept. Since there are no strictly defined boundaries in mentioned forms of migrations we decided to utilize a wide definition of retirement migrations which encompasses certain migration practices developed under different theoretical concepts. Considering there is as strong bond between migration rates and early stages of retirement we will restrict the paper to the criteria of retirement. The universal characteristics developing on this criteria which connects all migrant cases we analyzed in our research study and arguments in this paper (retirement migrations on Croatian islands) are retirement status, life changes and transition, destination choices and characteristics of destinations that appeal to them (climate, environment preservation, cultural and natural sights, security). The choice of qualitative methodology in this research is primarily directed by specificity of targeted population (retirement migrants). We utilized the method of semi-structured interviews with no strict protocol or sequence on questions presented to the interviewees. The research sample is a non-probability sample, and the selection of interviewees was conducted with use of the “snow-ball” method. Following the Introduction in which we present the research theme, subject, hypothesizes and research goals, is the theoretical-conceptual segment. The theoretical-conceptual segment is introduced with the second chapter Aging of population and effects of aging, in which aging is considered through a wider social concept as a social category in the sense of social constructivism. It explores the construction of age and aging under the influence of economical, structural and cultural factors. The process of aging is closely related to institutionalizing retirement, a process which is the focus of our third chapter called Retirement. The aim of this chapter is to define retirement, explore it as an institution, a process and an experience, focusing on complexity of the context which defines it. The concept of retirement relates to several different instances – retirement as an institution, retirement as a process and an experience, specifically adjustment to retirement and what it brings to a life of an individual. Taking into consideration the subject of this research – retirement migrations, this chapter details the establishment and development of the institution of retirement and the adjustment processes of key importance to forming of conditions that allowed the emergence of retirement migrations. Prior to reflecting on the concept of retirement migrations in the fourth chapter Migrations in senior life stages a portrayal of historical and social context of migrations in senior years is presented. Determinants and spatial patterns of migration among the elderly differ from migration of working population. The retirees of today, the ones possessing the economical resources and vitality are driven primarily by leisure and consumer motives. In return migrations, however, the key drivers are still emotional and nostalgic notions toward place of origin. The talked about relations represent an introduction to considering the model of migration decision making, personal relations of retirees and the decision to migrate. The analysis and synthesis of literature on retirement migration focuses on contributions of authors who are individually or grouply reviewed based on specific contexts and approaches. In the fifth chapter, Tourism and migration, we continue to develop the analysis of contributes to development of retirement migrations. Attention is turned to tourism which was in migration researches predominantly analyzed in the context of informing potential migrants and in the retirement migration decision making process. One of the major changes in tourism is the emergence of foreign secondary housing, an appearance which has benefited the spreading of the retirement migration phenomenon, analyzed in chapter six, Second home. In the role of the second home accent is placed on emotional ties to place of living. Ownership of a second home is considered to be a major contributor toward permanent or seasonal retirement migration. Chapter seven, Freedom of movement in European Union law and retirement migration, delivers a short overview of the legislative frame regulation freedom of movement for citizens of member states of European Union. Focus is places on the nature of retirement migration which often entail residing on two or more locations and realizing rights of settlement, which are guaranteed by the agreement on freedom of movement within European Union. Considering the theme of the paper and the given geographical determinants (Croatian islands), chapter eight, Islands as a physical and a social space, focuses on islands as a physical as well as a social space. The aim of this chapter is to elaborate on the space in which these migrations are developed, its natural and social characteristics. Chapter nine, Research methodology, discusses the reasons for choice of qualitative methodology. Chapter ten, Research findings, presents the results of conducted empirical research. The Conclusion, chapter eleven, brings a brief overview of research results and continues with recommendations for future studies of retirement migration following on conducted research.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: aging, retirement, retirement migration, Croatian islands, integration, local communities
Subjects: Sociology
Departments: Department of Sociology
Supervisor: Mesić, Milan
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2015 12:07
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2015 12:07

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