Narrating the war experience
: The politics of war memory and commemoration within the framed peace process in bosnia and herzegovina

  • Melina Sadikovic

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The proliferation of memory of war and commemorative practices within interconnected local and global contexts, are in the focus of global public and academic debate both of which are initiated in the onset of cultural globalisation. The last three decades have seen a growing research interest in a ‘memory boom’ and a recent ‘crisis in history’ in the history and memory debate in Western scholarship. Memory of war is more performed than theorised within the highly contrasting post-war Bosnian-Herzegovinian (BiH) memory landscape, framed through the global transitional justice model.

    This research study aims to bridge the gap between theory and practice, and to contribute to recently growing critical approaches to the study of memory of war in politically and culturally isolated post-war BiH. The study aims to develop a sensitised theoretical and methodological framework to the analysis of the construction of recent commemorative language in the BiH, and the ways in which this is challenged.

    The understanding of the complex notions of experience, memory, history and culture, which are necessary for grasping the experience of violent changes, is developed through three different stages of the analysis. These concepts are first identified through the examination of the interrelated post-Yugoslav and the postwar BIH contexts, and further considered through the nexus between global, transnational, regional and local contexts in the light of the ideological changes after 1989. The ambiguous and ideologically loaded concepts of memory, history and culture, which inform both the dominant interpretative framework, and the ongoing peace process in the post-war BiH, are demystified in the light of the recent memory and history debate. The conceptual and analytical framework for the study of the commemorative practice in BiH developed in this thesis draws on some of the main concepts which are discussed in this critical debate.

    The analysis of the recent politics of war memory and commemoration examines the approaches to memory of war in BiH, through a closer insight into four disparate commemorative events. Bearing in mind the lack of academic debate and the scarcity of critical approaches to history and culture in BiH, the analysis includes the reconstruction of the commemorated events. This analysis highlights the importance of the wider picture needed for understanding the limitation of the predominant and frequently criticised ‘one-fits-all model of transitional justice,’ and more importantly, the ways in which these approaches are challenged in the existing and in emerging arenas of articulation of memory of war, which signalled the shift from the ‘culture of memory’ to the ‘politics of memory’ in BiH.
    Date of Award2019
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Brighton
    SupervisorDuncan Barron (Supervisor), Graham Dawson (Supervisor) & Louise Purbrick (Supervisor)

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