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Ivana Bajic-Hajdukovic

Sep 29, 2021

Can You Run Away from Sorrow?

Mothers Left Behind in 1990s Belgrade

Indiana University Press 2020

How does emigration affect those left behind? The fall of Yugoslavia in the 1990s led citizens to look for a better, more stable life elsewhere. For the older generations, however, this wasn't an option. In this powerful and moving work, Ivana Bajic-Hajdukovic reveals the impact that waves of emigration from Serbia had on family relationships and, in particular, on elderly mothers who stayed.

With nowhere to go, and any savings given to their children to help establish new lives, these seniors faced the crumbling country, waves of refugees from Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, NATO bombing, the failing economy, and the trial and ouster of Slobodan Milosevic. Can You Run Away from Sorrow?: Mothers Left Behind in 1990s Belgrade (Indiana UP, 2020)  poignantly depicts the intimacy of family relationships sustained through these turbulent times in Serbia and through the next generation's search for a new life. Bajic-Hajdukovic explores transformations in family intimacy during everyday life practices-in people's homes, in their food and cooking practices, in their childcare, and even in remittances and the exchange of gifts.

"Can You Run Away from Sorrow?" illustrates not only the tremendous sacrifice of parents, but also their profound sense of loss-of their families, their country, their stability and dignity, and most importantly, of their own identity and hope for what they thought their future would be.

Anna Domdey, M.A., studied Cultural Anthropology and Gender Studies at the University of Goettingen and is currently doing professional training in the field of museology, but she still likes to engage with compelling anthropological research.

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