Accepted paper:

Being “stuck” and “out of time”. The case of former officers of the Yugoslav People’s Army in Serbia


Magdalena Sztandara (Jagiellonian University)

Paper short abstract:

Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, the paper explores the spatiotemporal practices of former officers of the Yugoslav People's Army and their families who live in “collective centres”. It focuses on the categories of hope and home in situations of being “distimed” and “displaced”.

Paper long abstract:

The (post)-Jugoslav’s wars have caused forced and irregular migration

and numerous displacements between former republics of Yugoslavia.

Among those, who had or were forced to move were also officers of the

Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) and their families. Many of them came to

Serbia in the 1990s, however, they continue to “be spatially stuck”

and “out of time” long after the wars have ended.

Together with their families, they now live in the so-called

“collective centres” (i.e., ex-military buildings, barracks, abandoned

surgeries, laundry and drying rooms, military prisons, former

dormitories, shops or warehouses). Thus, I am interested in how do

people make home and seek future, while being “distimed” and

“displaced”. Former officers of JNA and their families are stuck

between (and betwixt) state recognition and social oblivion; hence,

hope (or its lacking), the experiences of time and place and their

social and cultural organization become an important element in

anthropological problematisations. On the one hand, for some former

officers, the uncertain present-day and harsh living conditions, makes

the past appear to be a "safety net", while the future remains

unknown, hopeless and deprived from meaning. But for others, hope is a

vehicle for muddling through, and the ways it is experienced and used

in future-oriented practices reveal the unspoken fears and traumas of

being “stuck” and “out of time”.

panel P111
Trapped in space, stuck in time? Exploring irregular migration, time and im/mobility