Achieving the Ordinary

Everyday Peace and the Other in Bosnian Mixed-Ethnicity Families

in Conflict and Society
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  • 1 Northern Arizona University keziah.conrad@nau.edu
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Abstract

In Bosnia, 20 years after a war of ethnic cleansing, mixed-ethnicity families swim against the stream of nationalist separatism that insists all Bosnians should be neatly sorted into ethnic categories. When asked about their experiences, however, mixed families in Sarajevo during fieldwork from 2011 to 2012 repeatedly insisted that they were just “ordinary,” “normal” families. In this article, I look closely at an ordinary evening in the life of one such family, examining how they achieve this atmosphere of everydayness within which ordinary kin relationships are sustained despite the volatility of differences in ethnic and religious affiliation. Using a conversation analytic approach and building on the work of ordinary ethics theorists, I argue that the sense of being an ordinary family is an accomplishment constituted through active intersubjective work.

Contributor Notes

KEZIAH CONRAD is Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at Northern Arizona University. Her ethnographic research in Bosnia explores the impacts of war, nationalism, and economic instability, asking how people maintain ordinary family life and their own mental health in the context of social upheaval. Email: keziah.conrad@nau.edu

Conflict and Society

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