"Once we had a house": invisible citizens and consociational democracy in postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina
Azra Hromadzic (Syracuse University )
Paper short abstract:
Spanning more than 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in this article I focus on the transformation of Yugoslav “mixed citizens” into “invisible citizens” in the context of war and postwar democratization.
Paper long abstract:
One of the most important goals of postconflict reconciliation and democratization programs around the world is the establishment of a social order that would lead to peace and stability. In the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), this includes careful planning of the spatial reorganization of people and territory. More specifically, the project of democratization in BiH assumes a fixed relationship between people, understood as ethnic collectivities, and territory, understood as ethnically homogenous spaces. This particular spatial governmentality relies on a powerful set of rigid assumptions about belonging, identity, territoriality and politics in BiH, which makes ethnically "mixed" individuals spatially unmappable, bureaucratically invisible and socially undesirable. Spanning more than 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork in BiH, in this article I focus on the transformation of Yugoslav "mixed citizens" into "invisible citizens" in the context of war and postwar democratization. The experiences of these citizens provide an exceptionally fruitful site from which to understand, contextualize and critique the consociational model of peace and democracy in BiH and beyond.
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