Accepted paper:

'Fake' repairs as 'at least something': ambivalence, affect and simulation in a Serbian industrial town


Deana Jovanovic (Utrecht University )

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores reparations of dilapidated urban sites in a Serbian copper-processing town. It focuses on how repairs, ambivalently seen as 'fake' and 'at least something', had power to constitute affective "politics of simulation" in the context of the town's industrial revival.

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores reparations of dilapidated urban sites in a mono-industrial town in Serbia. After a prosperous period during Yugoslav socialism, there was an economic, social and symbolic decline of the town's copper-processing company during the 1990s. The paper looks at the recent moment of political promise that brought a new horizon of hope for a better life and the promise of economic growth through revival of the rundown industry. The reparations the paper focuses on were carried out by the industrial company in the context of this 'revival'. The paper explores how these repairs entailed a capacity for parody, mimicry, and simulation since they were seen by the residents as deceits, temporary, partial, fake and superficial, and were still praised as "at least something". I analyse this ambivalence and I argue that it allowed the state and the industrial company to become challenged but also reinvigorated and imbued with expectations. The second part of the paper focuses on the relationship between notions such as "fake", "real" and simulation (of the revival) and on their political potential. I explore how material repairs, which carried moral, social, emotional and affective attachments, had power to constitute the "politics of simulation". I analyse this in relation to the town's peripheral position in Europe and in Serbia.

panel Mat02
Repairing the periphery