"Once We Had a House"

Invisible Citizens and Consociational Democracy in Post-war Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

in Social Analysis

One of the most important goals of peace-building programs around the world is the establishment of a social order that would lead to stability. In the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), this includes a spatial reorganization of people and territory that assumes a fixed relationship between them. This spatial governmentality relies on a set of rigid assumptions about belonging, territoriality, and politics that make ethnically 'mixed' citizens spatially unmappable, bureaucratically invisible, and socially undesirable. Spanning more than 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork in BiH, I focus on the transformation of Yugoslav mixed citizens into 'invisible citizens' in the context of post-war democratization. The experiences of these people provide a fruitful site from which to understand and critique the peace-building efforts in BiH and beyond.