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"Everybody Loves Tito:" Memory and Political Subjectivity in Post-War Sarajevo
Unformatted Document Text:  LOCKE, Peter this perspective, the invocation of Yugoslav- era dreams and values by my informants in Sarajevo – whether or not the past to which they refer actually existed in the shape in which they currently cast it – may appear as an opening to a “scene of dissensus,” a fundamental objection to the terms in which politics are currently conducted in Bosnia. In recalling a different set of political ideals, they dissent to the way local and international authorities, obsessed with creating structures of “multiethnic” cooperation and compromise, ignore the everyday poverty, despair, and social alienation that allow ethnically divisive politicians to keep getting elected, by manipulating fear and widespread malaise, in the first place. And they explicitly reject broader neoliberal strategies of governance, in which the role of the state is to “regulate its own withdrawal” (Sassen 2006: 269), through privatization and “structural adjustment,” from the provision of key social services and the protection of socially and economically vulnerable groups. But Yugoslav yearnings may be more than just the scene’s opening; invocations of the past, and critical comparisons with the dismal present, do political work in the construction of alternative post-war solidarities and socialities. I found that as Bosnians have adapted psychosocial work to what they perceive to be local needs and realities, trauma has become an increasingly indirect target. The alleviation of emotional suffering is seen more as the secondary effect of helpful interventions in other dimensions of everyday struggle: most psychosocial NGOs in Bosnia now place the greatest emphasis on holistic support to clients as they attempt to improve their life circumstances. Wings of Hope, for example, not only provides counseling, but also tutoring for children struggling in school, help with further education and job placement for young adults, legal advice for families navigating Bosnia’s Kafkaesque bureaucracies, and general 10

Authors: Locke, Peter.
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LOCKE, Peter
this perspective, the invocation of Yugoslav- era dreams and values by my informants in
Sarajevo – whether or not the past to which they refer actually existed in the shape in
which they currently cast it – may appear as an opening to a “scene of dissensus,” a
fundamental objection to the terms in which politics are currently conducted in Bosnia.
In recalling a different set of political ideals, they dissent to the way local and
international authorities, obsessed with creating structures of “multiethnic” cooperation
and compromise, ignore the everyday poverty, despair, and social alienation that allow
ethnically divisive politicians to keep getting elected, by manipulating fear and
widespread malaise, in the first place. And they explicitly reject broader neoliberal
strategies of governance, in which the role of the state is to “regulate its own withdrawal”
(Sassen 2006: 269), through privatization and “structural adjustment,” from the provision
of key social services and the protection of socially and economically vulnerable groups.
But Yugoslav yearnings may be more than just the scene’s opening; invocations
of the past, and critical comparisons with the dismal present, do political work in the
construction of alternative post-war solidarities and socialities. I found that as Bosnians
have adapted psychosocial work to what they perceive to be local needs and realities,
trauma has become an increasingly indirect target. The alleviation of emotional suffering
is seen more as the secondary effect of helpful interventions in other dimensions of
everyday struggle: most psychosocial NGOs in Bosnia now place the greatest emphasis
on holistic support to clients as they attempt to improve their life circumstances. Wings
of Hope, for example, not only provides counseling, but also tutoring for children
struggling in school, help with further education and job placement for young adults,
legal advice for families navigating Bosnia’s Kafkaesque bureaucracies, and general
10


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