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Places of Pain

Places of Pain: Forced Displacement, Popular Memory and Trans-local Identities in Bosnian War-torn Communities

Hariz Halilovich
Series: Space and Place
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Places of Pain
    Book Description:

    For displaced persons, memory and identity is performed, (re)constructed and (re)negotiated daily. Forced displacement radically reshapes identity, with results ranging from successful hybridization to feelings of permanent misplacement. This compelling and intimate description of places of pain and (be)longing that were lost during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as of survivors' places of resettlement in Australia, Europe and North America, serves as a powerful illustration of the complex interplay between place, memory and identity. It is even more the case when those places have been vandalized, divided up, brutalized and scarred. However, as the author shows, these places of humiliation and suffering are also places of desire, with displaced survivors emulating their former homes in the far corners of the globe where they have resettled.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-777-6
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-ix)
    (pp. x-xi)
    (pp. xii-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  8. Introduction: The Journey through Bosnian War-torn Communities
    (pp. 1-20)

    It is a straightforward enough question: what is the relationship between forced displacement, popular memory and trans-local identities? In striving to answer it, we discover that it is anything but straightforward. Places – unless simply understood as geographically situated social networks – do not move, remember or create their identities. People do. Hence, displacement, memory and identity are embodied experiences of real people and the communities they belong to. These experiences are remembered, (re) constructed and enacted in diasporic spaces and in the original homeland as well as in cyber space, creating an in-between space, which is sometimes bothhere(‘where I...

  9. Chapter 1 Klotjevac: Forced Displacement and Ethnic Cleansing in an Eastern Bosnian Village
    (pp. 21-52)

    Before 1992 hot summers would always attract visitors to Klotjevac and other towns along the river Drina, separating Bosnia from Serbia. Famed for its beauty, its clean water and the breathtaking canyon through which it flows, for centuries the river has boasted many notable bridges – including the bridge at Višegrad made famous by Ivo Andrić in his Nobel Prize winning novelThe Bridge over Drina. In 1992, when war broke out in Bosnia, the eastern Bosnian border region along the Drina known as Podrinje assumed strategic importance for Serbia and their separatist Serb¹ compatriots in Bosnia, who planned to join...

  10. Chapter 2 Beyond the Sadness: Narratives of Displacement, Refuge and Homecomings among Bosnian Refugees in Austria
    (pp. 53-78)

    We now move outside the borders of Bosnia-Herzegovina, to explore three individual stories of displacement of Bosnians in Austria: Sejo, Edita and Ibro – separate individuals with separate life stories, which intersect. The stories do not necessarily represent three typical Bosnian stories of flight, refuge and homecoming; nor is it possible to label any such story as typical, as each story of displacement is based on a unique individual experience, so that different individuals are differently affected. Nonetheless, these three narratives – presented in this chapter as one story, involving different actors – are very much emblematic of the memories of violence and...

  11. Chapter 3 (Dis)Placing Memories: Monuments, Memorials and Commemorations in Post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina
    (pp. 79-110)

    Edita’s adoption of elements of others’ narratives into her sense of who she once was might be viewed as a personal battle over memory. Many scholars have argued that the Bosnian war itself was a war over memory which involved the manipulation of ‘traumatic memories’ of real and perceived past sufferings and injustices done to one’s own people.² The war over memory, which was so emblematic of the conflict in Bosnia, included systematic destruction of the institutions of cultural memory which symbolised the ‘other’. Some authors, like the Bosnian historian Ivan Lovrenović (1994), have called such acts destruction of memory...

  12. Interlude: Reframing Identity in Places of Pain: A Photographic Essay of Displacement and Memory
    (pp. 111-117)
  13. Chapter 4 Trans-local Diasporic Communities in the Age of Transnationalism: Bosnians in Australia, Europe and the U.S.A.
    (pp. 118-154)

    In previous chapters we have seen how, years after they were ethnically cleansed, many displaced Bosnians – like Edita, Sejo and Halid – have made a number of ‘homecomings’, in some cases turning their permanent displacement into regular seasonal movements between their new places of residence and their former home towns and villages. We have seen how physical and psychological displacement has created new forms of (non) belonging, with the feeling of permanent homelessness and exile contrasted with the dual or multiple senses of belonging. These conflicting feelings have been felt and described by the same individuals, with many displaced Bosnians developing...

  14. Chapter 5 Measuring the Pain of Others: Gendered Displacement, Memory and Identity
    (pp. 155-200)

    This chapter² explores how forced displacement has affected Bosnian women and girls and their identities. The ‘in-country’ case studies described here come from my fieldwork in the wider region of Podrinje, in eastern Bosnia, and the Prijedor region, in western Bosnia, as well as from diasporic places like the Melbourne suburb of St. Albans, where a significant number of women and their surviving family members from these areas settled after the war. While the war has affected almost every single village and town in the country, the regions of Podrinje and Prijedor have become synonymous with ethnic cleansing, concentration camps...

  15. Conclusion: Concluding the Journey through Bosnian War-torn Communities
    (pp. 201-232)

    This concluding chapter marks the completion of a journey that has been not only a metaphoric and intellectual venture through text, but also literally a journey around the world, from the southern to the northern hemisphere, from Australia to Europe to North America and back again. In this moving fieldwork – which was multi-sited, multidirectional and involved a number of sub-journeys within and between different sites – I encountered many people who became not only research collaborators and informants, but also generous hosts. Many of their stories are ‘written’ between the lines, this book – like any ethnography dealing with complex fields – being...

    (pp. 233-260)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 261-288)