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"Everybody Loves Tito:" Memory and Political Subjectivity in Post-War Sarajevo
Unformatted Document Text:  LOCKE, Peter reform and manage the deep shocks and problems of democratization and marketization; and now, as the provision of social services by foreign humanitarian organizations massively declines, it lacks sufficient means to address (or at least compensate for) root socioeconomic problems. Drawing on fourteen months of fieldwork, interviews, and participant-observation in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo, in this paper I take up the common claim (made mainly by foreign policy-makers and aid-workers) that Bosnians are “collectively depressed” and trapped in stagnant nostalgia for life in pre-war Yugoslavia. I argue that such diagnoses de-politicize both the bitter affect and the content of local longings for the past, thereby obscuring the on-the-ground, day-to-day work of social recovery occurring in Sarajevo, as well as the quiet emergence of alternative political hopes and subjectivities. In the process I attempt to bring my ethnographic material usefully to bear on theoretical and definitional discussions about what, precisely, it means to be a “political subject” and what constitutes “political subjectivity,” as well as on broader concerns about citizenship, reconstruction, and the multi-layered impacts of international intervention in the wake of war. I conducted much of my field research through local civil society projects that officially targeted the long-term, trans-generational consequences of “war trauma.” My original aim was to find out how international psychosocial models of post-war recovery – centered on using individual and group therapeutic interventions to help war survivors successfully confront and “integrate” painful wartime experiences – might be transforming the way local people understand their needs and struggles, causing them to think and act increasingly in psychological rather than socioeconomic and political 2

Authors: Locke, Peter.
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LOCKE, Peter
reform and manage the deep shocks and problems of democratization and marketization;
and now, as the provision of social services by foreign humanitarian organizations
massively declines, it lacks sufficient means to address (or at least compensate for) root
socioeconomic problems.
Drawing on fourteen months of fieldwork, interviews, and participant-observation
in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo, in this paper I take up the common claim (made
mainly by foreign policy-makers and aid-workers) that Bosnians are “collectively
depressed” and trapped in stagnant nostalgia for life in pre-war Yugoslavia. I argue that
such diagnoses de-politicize both the bitter affect and the content of local longings for the
past, thereby obscuring the on-the-ground, day-to-day work of social recovery occurring
in Sarajevo, as well as the quiet emergence of alternative political hopes and
subjectivities. In the process I attempt to bring my ethnographic material usefully to bear
on theoretical and definitional discussions about what, precisely, it means to be a
“political subject” and what constitutes “political subjectivity,” as well as on broader
concerns about citizenship, reconstruction, and the multi-layered impacts of international
intervention in the wake of war.
I conducted much of my field research through local civil society projects that
officially targeted the long-term, trans-generational consequences of “war trauma.” My
original aim was to find out how international psychosocial models of post-war recovery
– centered on using individual and group therapeutic interventions to help war survivors
successfully confront and “integrate” painful wartime experiences – might be
transforming the way local people understand their needs and struggles, causing them to
think and act increasingly in psychological rather than socioeconomic and political
2


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