Resisting the Culture of Trauma in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Emancipatory Lessons for/in Cultural and Knowledge Production

  • Jasmina Husanović
Part of the Springer Series in Transitional Justice book series (SSTJ, volume 8)


This chapter analyses some responses to specific technologies of culturalised governance of life in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It draws on the concepts of politics of witnessing to trauma and ‘terror as usual’ situated in the intersecting fields of knowledge production, art and social activism in the post-Yugoslav region. The privileged metaphors of the culture of trauma enacted as the politics of terror refer to the material remnants of human waste produced by political violence in the region—mass grave and ghetto. Drawing on them, one can map out the key narratives and technologies of governing contingency under various umbrellas—including the ‘transitional justice’ paradigm, or regime of knowledge and power. These narratives and technologies are challenged, repoliticised, resisted and transformed by emergent agents and practices within the overlapping spaces of publicity—education, theory, art, activism—which hold transformative potential for the politics of hope, solidarity and equality beyond the foreclosure of the horizons of possibility and plausibility in our political and everyday lives in Bosnia. This chapter brings into our field of political visibility some urgent and emergent ways of resistance to the regimes of culturalised governance in the security–development nexus universally. By insisting on critically important instances of knowledge production, social activism and art in the form of public platforms, classrooms and interventions, as well as drawing on their lessons, this chapter calls for further and more intense work on cooperative efforts that forge the means for critical knowledge production as a public good set against the culture of trauma as the politics of terror in Bosnia and Herzegovina and internationally.


Terror Knowledge production Trauma Bosnia and Herzegovina 


  1. Arsenijević, Damir. 2010. Forgotten Future: Politics of poetry in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Baden-Baden: Nomos.Google Scholar
  2. Arsenijević, D., K. Kobolt, J. Petrović, and T. Velagić. 2009. Gender, literature, and cultural memory in the post-Yugoslav Space, 662-665. Ljubljana: Borec.Google Scholar
  3. Athanasiou, Athena. 2008. Reflections on the politics of mourning: Feminist ethics and politics in the age of empire. Historian 5:43.Google Scholar
  4. Balibar, Étienne. 1994. “Rights of Man” and “Rights of the Citizen”: The modern dialectis of equality and freedom. In Masses, classes, ideas: studies on politics and philosophy before and after Marx, 39–60. London: RoutledgeGoogle Scholar
  5. Bauman, Zygmunt. 2001. Community. Seeking safety in an insecure world, 116–121. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  6. de Certeau, Michel. 1984. The practice of everyday life, 28. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  7. Duffield, Mark. 2001. Global governance and the new wars, 9–12. London: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  8. Eng, David L., and David Kazanjian, eds. 2003. Loss. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  9. Felman, Shoshana. 2002. The juridical unconscious: Trials and traumas in the twentieth century. Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press.Google Scholar
  10. Flecha, Ramon. 2008. ‘“Heartless” institutions: Critical educators and university feudalism’. International Journal of Critical Pedagogy 1 (1): 1–6.Google Scholar
  11. Giroux, Henry A. 2010. ‘Neoliberalism, pedagogy, and cultural politics: Beyond the theatre of cruelty’. In Handbook of cultural politics and education, ed. Leonardo Zeus, 49–70, 66. New York: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  12. Husanović, Jasmina. 2007. Etičko-politička zaviještanja lica i ožiljaka: bosanske priče i traume kao imenice ženskog roda u množini. Treća 9:1.Google Scholar
  13. Husanović, Jasmina. 2009. The politics of gender, witnessing, postcoloniality and trauma. Bosnian feminist trajectories. Feminist Theory 10 (1): 99–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Husanović, Jasmina. 2010. Između traume, nade i imaginacije: Kritički ogledi o kulturnoj produkciji i emancipativnoj politici.Google Scholar
  15. Husanović, Jasmina. 2011. Feminističke ekskurzije, transverzalnosti , traverzije:O punoljetnim iskustvima solidarnosti i zajedništva u proizvodnji znanja i emancipativnoj politici. Damir Arsenijević, ‘Mobilising unbribable life’. In Towards a new literary humanism, ed. Andy Mousley, 166–180. London: PalgraveGoogle Scholar
  16. Kristeva, Julia. 2002. Revolt, she said, trans. Brian O’Keeffe, 45. New York: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  17. Levinas, Emmanuel. 1998. 'Philosophy, justice and love' in Entre Nous: Essays on Thinking-of-the-Other, 88–104. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Marazzi, Christian. 2008. Capital and language: from the new economy to the war economy. Los Angeles: Semiotext(e).Google Scholar
  19. Mezzadra, Sandro, and Brett Neilson. 2003. Né qui, né altrove-Migration, Detention, Desertion: A Dialogue’, Borderlands, vol. 2, no. 3. Accessed 23 Jan 2010.
  20. Mohanty, Chandra T. 2002. “Under Western Eyes” revisited: Feminist solidarity through anticapitalist struggles. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 28 (2): 499–535.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Petrović-Šteger, Maja. 2008. Anatomizacija konflikta i telesnih ostataka kao strategija izmirenja? In Reč 76 (22): 119–153.Google Scholar
  22. Pupavac, Vanessa. 2004. The disciplining of desires and emotions. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association . Accessed 15 May 2010.
  23. Pupavac, Vanesa. 2005. “The demoralised subject of global civil society” in Global civil society: Contested futures, 52–68. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  24. Ranciére, Jacques. 2007. The emancipated spectator. Artforum March:271–281.Google Scholar
  25. Wastell, Sari. 2010. Auditing war abroad: Concealed and colonising truths of international management of affect/order. Newspaper Mathemes of Reassociation by Monument Group. Belgrade, 2010).Google Scholar
  26. Seeburger, Frank. 2010. The politics of trauma: The Sovereign fetish. [Web log article]. July 26, 2010. 2010/07/26/the- politics-of-trauma-2-the-sovereign-fetish-conclusion. Accessed 25 Nov 2010.
  27. Sullivan, Stefan. 2002. Marx for a postcommunist era: On poverty, corruption, and banality. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  28. Taussig, Michael. 1992. The nervous system. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  29. Taussig, Michael. 1984. Culture of terror: Space of death. Comparative Studies In Society and History 26 (3): 467–497.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Touraine, Alain. 2001. Beyond neoliberalism,2. London: Polity.Google Scholar
  31. Virno, Paul. 1996. Virtuosity and Revolution: The political theory of exodus. In Radical thought in Italy. A potential politics, eds P. Virno, and M. Hardt, 189–209. Minneapolis: Minnesota: University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Wacquant Löic J. D. 1993. Urban outcasts: Stigma and division in the black American ghetto and the French urban periphery. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 17 (3): 366–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wacquant Loïc. 2011. The punitive regulation of poverty in the neoliberal age. OpenDemocracy, August 1, 2011. %AFc-wacquant/punitive-regulation-of-poverty-in-neoliberal-age. Accessed 1 May 2012.
  34. Wagner, Sarah. 2008. To know where he lies: DNA technology and the search for srebrenica’s missing, 248–249. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cultural Studies, Faculty of PhilosophyUniversity of TuzlaTuzlaBosnia and Herzegovina

Personalised recommendations