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First as Tragedy, Then as Teleology

The Politics/People Dichotomy in the Ethnography of Post-Yugoslav Nationalization

Stef Jansen

ABSTRACT

Ethnographers working in Bosnia and Herzegovina have been at the forefront of the struggle against the identitarianism that dominates scholarship and policymaking regarding the country. Tirelessly foregrounding patterns of life that exceed, contradict, complicate or are oblivious to questions thus framed, we have—unsurprisingly—paid a price for this contribution: explorations of the appeal of nationalism are left mostly to others. This article identifies an emic and etic politics/people paradigm that facilitates our timidity to register the ways in which “ordinary people” may enact nationalist subjectivity. Seeking to retain the paradigm’s strengths, I call for a recalibration of how we understand it to function and explore conceptual tools to make this work. Starting from two cases of “foot soldier narratives,” I suggest that hegemony theory can help us trace not only how people are subjected to nationalization but also how they may seek subjectification through it.

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Introduction

Rethinking Resistance to Transitional Justice

Briony Jones and Thomas Brudholm

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Introduction

Post-Conflict Dynamics in Bosnia-Herzegovina: Identities, Nationalization, and Missing Bodies

Katerina Seraïdari

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Introduction

The Dialectics of Displacement and Emplacement

Henrik Vigh and Jesper Bjarnesen

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Liminality and Missing Persons

Encountering the Missing in Postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina

Laura Huttunen

ABSTRACT

In many armed conflicts, forced disappearances and hiding the bodies of victims of mass atrocities are used strategically. This article argues that disappearances are powerful weapons, as their consequences reach from the most intimate relations to the formation of political communities. Consequently, political projects of forced disappearances leave difficult legacies for post-conflict reconciliation, and they give rise to a need to address individuals’ and families’ needs as well as relations between national and political groups implicated in the conflict. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, this articles explores the question of missing persons in post-1992 Bosnia. The processes of identification and practices of remembering and commemorating the missing are analyzed through the concept of liminality. The article argues that the future-oriented temporality of liminality gives rise to numerous practices of encountering the enigma of the missing, while the political atmosphere of postwar Bosnia restricts possibilities of communitas-type relationality across ethnonational differences.

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The Meanings of the Move?

From “Predicaments of Mobility” to “Potentialities in Displacement”

Stephen C. Lubkemann

ABSTRACT

In this article I draw comparatively on ethnographic material from my work with war-affected populations from postcolonial Mozambique and diasporan Liberia to argue for a fundamental shift in the conceptualization and study of displacement. I argue first for a need to shift from an emphasis on physical mobility as the sine qua non of “displacement,” to an empirical investigation of the less-than-self-evident relationship between physical mobility and social mobility. I illustrate how the meanings and outcomes of physical mobility are far from given but must be treated as an empirical problem, in which the social opportunity structures that cultural agents ultimately navigate are reconfigured in complex, contradictory, and inadvertent ways that simultaneously generate new and socially differentiated challenges as well as opportunities.

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Antonius C. G. M. Robben

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Staying out of Place

The Being and Becoming of Burundian Refugees in the Camp and the City

Simon Turner

ABSTRACT

Based on ethnographic fieldwork among Burundian refugees living clandestinely in Nairobi and living in a refugee camp in Tanzania, the article argues that displacement can be about staying out of place in order to find a place in the world in the future. I suggest that the term dia-placement describes this sense of not only being out of place but also being en route to a future. Burundians in the camp and the city are doing their best to remain out of place, in transition between a lost past and a future yet to come, and the temporary nature of their sojourn is maintained in everyday practices. Such everyday practices are policed by powerful actors in the camp and are ingrained in practices of self-discipline in Nairobi. Comparing the two settings demonstrates that remaining out of place can take on different forms, according to context.

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Using International Criminal Law to Resist Transitional Justice

Legal Rupture in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

Mikael Baaz and Mona Lilja

ABSTRACT

An increasing body of literature focuses on negotiations of transitional justice, but not much has been written so far regarding contestations over its practices and the refusal of states and individuals to participate. Given the remaining legalistic dominance, this is particularly true regarding the field of international criminal law. Very little, if any, work in international criminal law engages with the topic of “resistance.” Departing from this gap in research, focusing on Cambodia and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), the objective of this article is to introduce, discuss, and analyze the “strategy of rupture”—as developed by the late French lawyer Jacques Vergès—and the ways in which this legal defense has been applied in practice at the ECCC in order to resist not only the Tribunal per se, but also the entire Cambodian transitional justice process and, by extension, the post–Cold War global liberal project.

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Violence and Identification

Everyday Ethnic Identity in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Torsten Kolind

ABSTRACT

Structurally inspired anthropological analyses of war and violence tend to claim that conflicts have an inherent potential to create unambiguous identities. Based on ethnographic data from everyday life among the Muslim population of Stolac in postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina the article shows that this is not necessarily the case. Instead of resorting to the politically created dichotomous categories of ethnic exclusion, the Muslims of Stolac favored ambiguous identifications highlighting coexistence and interethnic respect. In this way of refraining from exclusive ethnic antagonistic identifications they experimented with ways of inhabiting the world together with the ethnic others; mainly the Croat population of Stolac.