FOREWORD OF THE PORTAL’S FOUNDER
- Global Times and Global Migration
The times that we live in are truly global. Technology managed to connect the 21st century world unlike ever before in the history of civilization. During history, it has always had an impact on various societal forms. Postmodernist societies are defined by digital technologies that made a connected and faster world and global population mobility possible.
According to recent data, in 2018 there were 258 million migrants worldwide. This is a global phenomenon. Stephen Castles thinks that nowadays we live in the “age of migration”. I would add that it is a time determined by various factors that in turn drive people to migration. Sociological theory uses these factors when it tries to interpret migration as part of demography.
- Components of Demography and Explosion of the World Population in Global Trends
Demography has two components. The first one is organic and refers to birth rate, fertility and mortality. The second one is mechanic and refers to the movement of population within a society, and among societies and states, i.e. international or global migrations. Organic and mechanical dimensions of demography are relevant for the understanding of movement of population: a) on the level of nation states, and b) on the global level. The portal has a small database on the topic of biopolitics, inspired by Michel Foucault’s thought.
This portal provides data on the history of demography related to exponential population growth and migration. Today, the world population is 7.7 billion people. Projections show that that there will be 9.7 billion people by year 2050. Data provided by the UN indicate further a tendency of world population growth.
There are 258 million migrants in the overall world population. Global migration is also a result of uneven effects of globalization, while the global population, which is unevenly distributed, is under the impact of various socio-cultural factors.
- Western Civilization in Relation to Demography and Migration
Western population is getting older and the Western civilization is collapsing, but not due to migrants having a different cultural code. It is collapsing because of the internal decadence that happened in old Rome during the previous history cycle. Barbarians did not destroy Rome. This is a historical stereotype. Rome was destroyed from the inside. Barbarians only completed it. Maybe the analogy with Europe/EU today is redundant. The postulate is, as follows. Once the ideative forces, that can creatively lead societies and civilizations, as longue durée structures, weaken, civilizations are destroyed, according to the words of Fernand Braudel. In this case, we come to a “strange death of Europe”, as part of the Western civilization.
When it comes to civilizations, one should as oneself what would Europe look like today without migration. Nevertheless, what would all non-European civilizations look like, as the highest expression of socio-culturally structured techno-cultural reality? The Histories of Herodotus and other sources show the meaning of migration. If there had been no Phoenicians, who founded Greek polises, what would European history look like today? If there had been no Greeks and their culture, would Rome have been possible? If there had been no Rome and its conquering expeditions, what would Europe of today look like? And so on, all the way to the postmodern times.
The thesis is, as follows. Throughout history, migrations were forming cities, as foundations of civilizations and as civilization itself. Actually, there is no indigenous population in the cities. Why is that so? Because all of us came from somewhere or left to go to another place. We were all foreigners at one point and we can always be foreigners if we decide to migrate. It seems that migration is very easily explained. Yet, it is more complex than people think. Hence, knowledge about demography and migration should be systematized. One of the ways to do that is to devise a methodology (which was done!), as a prerequisite for the creation of a specialized scholarly portal on the topic of demography and migration.
- About the Importance of the Portal
A portal is an architectural term describing the façade of a building. It can also mean a gateway. In the theory of information and semiotics, the portal represents a gateway for input and output of information. The point of any portal is to amass the maximum possible amount of information on a specific knowledge or culture in one place. Therefore, the point of the Demos-Migrant portal is to try to systematize information and knowledge in the field of demography and migration in the form of scholarly available databases. All three words in the title: demos, migrant and portal have their foundation in semiotics of Greco-Roman culture that has shaped the identity of Europe and the Western civilization.
- Categorization and Structure of the Portal according to the Methodology
As per portal categorization, Demos-Migrant portal is a trilingual (Croatian, English, and German) scholarly portal with two basic dimensions. The first one is epistemological, and the second one is policy dimension, with two Addenda, C and D.
- The Epistemological Dimension of the Portal includes basic terms and 13 social sciences and humanities related to demography and migration, such as demography, sociology of migration, economic theory and migration, law and migration, political science and migration, history and migration, culture and migration, anthropology and migration, psychology and migration, philosophy/ethics and migration, sociolinguistics and migration, semiotics and migration, and literature and migration. The epistemological dimension of the portal is represented by eight databases on the topic of demography and migration, including the published output of Croatian scholars in the field of social sciences and humanities.
- The Policy Dimension of the Portal focuses on policy content pertaining to demography and migration. The databases are organized according to geographical principle: World, Europe, Croatia. The German version of the portal follows the same principle, but instead of the Croatia, Germany is included.
The two basic Demos-Migrant portal dimensions are supplemented by nine specialized databases in Addendum C.
- Selected Issues in Migration Studies
In this Addendum, I highlighted nine challenges faced by the contemporary world in relation to migration:
- Global Climate Change and Migration
- Migration and the Global Risk Society
- Global Migration Governance
- Asylum Seekers
- Racism and Xenophobia
- Migration Law
- Minorities in Europe
- Global Organizations for Migration Affairs
- Addendum. Various Data Sources on Demography and Migration
Upon systematization of databases, completed according to my methodology, there remained a quantity of useful material to be additionally included on the portal.
- Inception of the Demos-Migrant Portal
The idea behind the portal was born in January 2019 in Zagreb. First, I created a specific methodology of the portal. According to this methodology, I systematized some 300 pages with links until the end of August 2019. Thirty pages are in Croatian. The remaining material is in English and German. The methodology in Croatian, English, and German is maximally compatible. In places where there were no databases in Croatian and German, I put English-language links. Systematization of databases was completed in the early hours of 18 August in Radunica, Split. The portal will be officially presented on 26 October 2019 in Split, at the international academic conference Globalization of Migration, Anti-Immigrant Parties and Xenophobia in the EU.
- Comparison of the Demos-Migrant Portal with Similar Portals
It is worth mentioning that there are three globally relevant portals of this kind. The first one is the Migration Data Portal. The second one is the Environmental Migration Portal. The third one is the Knowledge Centre on Migration and Demography Portal of the European Union. All three mentioned portals follow the logic of policy content, just as the Demos-Migrant portal. Our portal stands out from the other three because of its strong epistemological dimension.
- Meaning and Purpose of the Portal
Now we have come to the metaphysical issue of this portal’s initiation and initiator or to the question of why do need such a portal. Such a portal was created for the purposes of the international academic project Globalization of Migration organized by the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies from Zagreb in co-operation with the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Split. The launch of this international academic project and the Demos-Migrant portal was conditioned by the 2015 large migration crisis in Europe, dividing the continent into a cosmopolitan and a sovereignist camp. Conversely, the alarming condition regarding the demographic deficit in Europe and Croatia, as well as mass emigration from Croatia during the term of Prime Minister Andrej Plenković inspired me to start a scholarly portal on the topic of demography and migration in order to collect and systematize interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary knowledge on demography and migration in one place. This project largely reflects the current Zeitgeist.
- Methodology of the Portal
An academic motivation to attempt a systematization of knowledge and information about demography and migration in the 21st century inspired me to initiate such a portal. From the methodological point of view of, the portal is a result of the author’s thirty years of research on migration as employee of the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies in Zagreb. The methodology of this portal is the author’s own creation and a direct contribution to epistemology of demography and migration. This is my first contribution that I am very proud of.
The second contribution of the portal’s founder is systematization of publicly available information and databases that was possible exclusively based on the author’s methodology. In fact, it determines the identity of this portal.
The portal has a scholarly and non-profit nature. It serves the development of knowledge on demography and migration in Croatia, Europe, and the world. In addition, I would like to point out its global component. Migration is a global phenomenon and the new medium that I use for its presentation is also global.
- About the Motivation for the Portal on the Trail of Family History and Oral Tradition
In addition, I had a private motivation to start a portal on the topic of demography and, particularly migration. Why? Because of the oral tradition of the close and extended Milardović family that migrated within Croatia, Europe, and America during the last one hundred years. I am myself a migrant who studied, lived and worked in various cities in Croatia, former Yugoslavia, and Germany.
My father Petar Milardović retired in the Federal Republic of Germany, my uncle Ante in Leverkusen, my brother Boris in Stuttgart. My uncle Filip was in Berlin. My other relatives are all over Germany and Canada. My son Luka migrated to Asia (he studied in Kuala Lumpur, worked in Saigon, and later in Frankfurt and Prague), in contrast to our other family members. He is truly a global migrant in our family.
Other members of the Milardović family tribe have been continuously moving from their ancestral home towards Croatia, Europe, and beyond. We are a migrant tribe dispersed all over Croatia and the world. The surname Milardović is represented in 27 Croatian cities and 12 countries all over the world. Based on these data, the surname is globalized, primarily because of migration. I needed to write this to show that the portal is related to the history of migration of the close and extended Milardović family.
- About the Permanent Migrant and Scholarly Research of Migration
I consider myself a permanent migrant who has been working on interdisciplinary aspects and research of migration during his entire professional life at the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies. The results of my studies include the 2013 monograph Stranac i društvo: Fenomenologija stranica i ksenofobije (Foreigner and Society: Phenomenology of the Foreigner and Xenophobia), the 2014 edited volume Stranci pred vratima Europe: Iskustvo Lampeduse (Foreigners at Europe’s Door: The Lampedusa Experience), the roundtable series Migration Forum of the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies, as well as the international research project Globalization of Migration, Anti-Immigrant Parties and Xenophobia in the EU.
I would like to thank my collaborators in the initial phase of portal development: To my son Luka Milardović for web design and future development and maintenance of the portal. To my colleague Marita Brčić Kuljiš from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Split, for useful advice and proofreading of the portal. Finally, to my young colleague Ana Gudelj from CT sector for her patient editing of databases, without whom this portal would have never happened.
- A Word to Users of the Demos-Migrant Portal
Dear researchers, colleagues and all users of the portal, I hope that this portal will be of use to you in research of demography and migration. Good luck to all of us!