Re(b)ordering and Migrations in the European Periphery: A View from Bosnia and Herzegovina

Danijela Majstorović (Banja Luka/Gießen)

AM 03

In March 2018, Bihać, a northwestern Bosnian-Herzegovinian (BiH) city near the Croatian border, emerged as the newest “hot spot” on the so-called “Balkan migrant route.” This is mostly due to the city’s proximity to Croatia and the European Union (EU). While the borders and routes elsewhere in Europe are being closed, the city is currently harboring approximately 3,000 people from South Asia, Middle East and Northern Africa who are desperately and repeatedly trying to cross into Croatia and the rest of the EU. The goal of this panel is to carefully examine everyday encounters, and politics and aesthetics of this border/order regime. Using a cultural studies perspective, the panelists explore these novel yet historically-informed relationships between people and objects, and policies and history that are emerging in this European semi-periphery - Bosnia and Herzegovina and especially the city of Bihać. This broad approach to the “field” includes several theoretical, analytical and methodological lenses including: a careful analysis of politico-economical aspects, such as different, historically-contextualized orders and regimes of governance or “crisis management” by different state and international actors; a reflection on post-colonial, post-socialist and post-war convergences; an exploration of different media and cultural texts shaping public deliberations, argumentations and representations; and an ethnographic examination of the local community’s daily experiences with the shifting situation on the ground. Through the interdisciplinary lenses of anthropology, critical discourse analysis, gender and race, media and labor studies, we investigate what happens “culturally” in these encounters. Our painstaking research includes: 1) the postcolonial criticism of the Western NGOs handling the situation; 2) the role of the semi-absent state in BiH; 3) public sphere deliberations, including perceptions and representations of migrants with respect to race, gender, class, labor, nature (rivers, mountains, and trees) and infrastructure (life in, with and through socialist material ruins); and 4) research on simultaneous antagonisms and solidarity networks, divergences and convergences forged in the process of cohabitation and encounter. Moreover, through our different methodologies and analytical approaches, we hope to grasp and analyze different aesthetic-performative practices of inclusion and exclusion as well as different order-reproducing border processes in their specific context of northwestern BiH.


Migrant Crisis and the Collapse of the Bosnian State

Zoran Vučkovac (Giessen)

Migrant Figures at the European Periphery: Bosnia and Herzegovina as the new Frontier of Europe

Danijela Majstorović (Banja Luka/Giessen)

Picturing Vučjak: The Elusive Image of Necropower

Amir Husak (New York)

Migranti, Nature and Infrastructure: Border Crossings and Refugee Encounters in Bihać, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Azra Hromadžić (Syracuse)

Refugees and Migrants Then and Now: Solidarity, Antimigrant activism, and Patriotism along the Bosnian border with the EU

Elissa Helms (Budapest)

Hate propaganda as a bordering mechanism in managing post- 2015 migrations in BiH

Nidžara Ahmetašević (Sarajevo)

Neo-colonialism in the age of the “migration management”: the Case study of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Gorana Mlinarević (Sarajevo)