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"Everybody Loves Tito:" Memory and Political Subjectivity in Post-War Sarajevo
Unformatted Document Text:  LOCKE, Peter of people in Sarajevo. The former approach interprets, in more or less sophisticated, explicit terms, the intractably stubborn “Bosnian attitude” as a displacement or denial of deep-seated, repressed war trauma, thereby assuming that local people do not actually know what motivates them, and treating what they say as an unconscious strategy of repression or avoidance. The latter reading, in which all that Bosnians are saying and feeling is that they need good jobs and benefits like they used to have, is similarly reductive, and would fail to address the complex pathos and many ambiguities of the narratives I recorded throughout my fieldwork. Neither approach, clearly, is satisfying, and by thinking through the lens of “political subjectivity,” I want to suggest that what Bosnians are saying and doing pulls these two artificially divided extremes together: it is a creative, and fundamentally political, bid to respond to the aftermath of war by drawing on dreams and values that both the neoliberal masters of post-war “transition” and local political leaders, with their rhetoric of ethnic exclusionism, have tried to dismiss as illegitimate. Invoking the Past, in Passing: Memory as Critique I heard the terms “nostalgia” and “yugo-nostalgia” from foreigners working in Bosnia; they were not much used by my local friends in Sarajevo. References by Bosnians to life in pre-war Yugoslavia, as I encountered them, were concrete, usually rather specific, and never subsumed within a blanket category of affect. The socialist era tended to be invoked – often only in passing, sometimes in greater depth – as a critical comparison to current circumstances. 5

Authors: Locke, Peter.
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LOCKE, Peter
of people in Sarajevo. The former approach interprets, in more or less sophisticated,
explicit terms, the intractably stubborn “Bosnian attitude” as a displacement or denial of
deep-seated, repressed war trauma, thereby assuming that local people do not actually
know what motivates them, and treating what they say as an unconscious strategy of
repression or avoidance. The latter reading, in which all that Bosnians are saying and
feeling is that they need good jobs and benefits like they used to have, is similarly
reductive, and would fail to address the complex pathos and many ambiguities of the
narratives I recorded throughout my fieldwork. Neither approach, clearly, is satisfying,
and by thinking through the lens of “political subjectivity,” I want to suggest that what
Bosnians are saying and doing pulls these two artificially divided extremes together: it is
a creative, and fundamentally political, bid to respond to the aftermath of war by drawing
on dreams and values that both the neoliberal masters of post-war “transition” and local
political leaders, with their rhetoric of ethnic exclusionism, have tried to dismiss as
illegitimate.
Invoking the Past, in Passing: Memory as Critique
I heard the terms “nostalgia” and “yugo-nostalgia” from foreigners working in
Bosnia; they were not much used by my local friends in Sarajevo. References by
Bosnians to life in pre-war Yugoslavia, as I encountered them, were concrete, usually
rather specific, and never subsumed within a blanket category of affect. The socialist era
tended to be invoked – often only in passing, sometimes in greater depth – as a critical
comparison to current circumstances.
5


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