Biosocial Approach to Human Migration - The Case of Refugees Living in the Transitional Settlements in Serbia

Graduate Research Grant
Grant Year

Migration, both voluntary and forced even under the finest of circumstances, involves a sequence of events that can be highly traumatizing and can place refugees at risk. The process includes displacement, separation from family and traditional values, life in new social and cultural situations where legal security may be minimal. Moreover, the forced displacement can significantly affect refugees’ health and well-being in different ways, some more overtly than others. However, most anthropological research on (forced) migration has mainly considered cultural and social changes brought on by forced displacement detached from the effects of new sociocultural and environmental contexts that impact and shape refugees’ social practices, identity, health, and physiology. I argue that without understanding both biological and cultural processes that underlie the human migration and everyday life of refugees confined in transit or camps we cannot fully grasp how refugees who are forcibly displaced manage the immense cultural and social changes brought on by involuntary displacement and in what ways and how these changes affect their health, well-being, and physiology.