Institute for Community, Ethnicity and Policy Alternatives, Institute for Community, Ethnicity and Policy Alternatives, Victoria University, Victoria 8001, AUSTRALIA.
This thesis examines the settlement experience of the Bosnian Muslims in Victoria. Overall this research exploration takes places against background of the history of the immigration to Australia. The study covers migration patterns of Bosnian Muslims from post World War 2 periods to more recent settlement. The thesis provides contemporary insights on Bosnian Muslims living in a Western society such as Australia. The thesis excavates key issues about Islam and the Muslim communities in Western nations and argues that successful settlement is possible, as demonstrated by the Bosnian Muslim community. By adopting a socio-historical framework about settlement, the thesis reveals the significant, interconnected and complex aspects of the settlement process.
Settlement of immigrants takes place within global, historical, economic, political, social and cultural elements of both the sending and receiving countries. Thus any study of settlement must examine theories and concepts on migration, settlement, religion, culture, integration and identity. The purpose for migration, the conditions under which migration takes place, the conditions of immigrant reception are fundamental in the context of Australia. Furthermore, Australia since the 1970s has adopted a policy of multiculturalism which has changed settlement experiences of immigrants. These elements are strongly analysed in the thesis both through a critical conceptual appraisal of the relevant issues such as migration, multiculturalism and immigration and through an empirical application to the Bosnian Muslim community.
The theoretical element of the study is strongly supported by the empirical research related to settlement issues, integration and multiculturalism in Victoria. Through a socio-historical framework and using a ‘grounded theory’ methodological approach, field research was undertaken with Bosnian Muslim communities, Bosnian organizations and multicultural service providers. In addition, historical data was analysed by chronology. The data provided rich evidence of the Bosnian Muslims’ settlement process under the various governmental policies since World War 2.
The study concluded that the Bosnian community has successfully integrated and adapted to the way of life in Australia. Different cohorts of Bosnian Muslims had different settlement patterns, problems and issues which many were able to overcome. The findings revealed the contributions that the Bosnian Muslim community has made to broader social life in Australia such as contribution to the establishment of multi-ethnic Muslim communities, the Bosnian Muslim community development and building social infrastructure. The study also concluded that coming from multicultural backgrounds, the Bosnian Muslims understood the value of cultural diversity and contributed to the development of Australian multiculturalism and social harmony.
Overall conclusion of this research is that the different generations of Bosnian Muslims are well-integrated and operate well within Australian multiculturalism.