Accepted Paper:

Elections in Sarajevo: images of boundaries, borders and walls  


Zaira Tiziana Lofranco (University of Milan)

Paper short abstract:

The paper will analyse some shots taken by the author in the Sarajevo area during the last political elections held on October 1, 2006. The aim will be to highlight different concepts of the political space expressed by the main political actors during their electoral activity.

Paper long abstract:

The paper will consider the last political elections as a symptomatic event: revealing:

1) Ethnocultural boundaries between the main national groups created and marked by the ethno-nationalist parties manipulating cultural elements (such as alphabets) used in electoral jumbos and pamphlets. Cultural boundaries, in this case, try to turn the administrative boundaries drawn by the Dayton peace agreement into a line of cleavage. According to this strict monoethnic logic citizens choose with their vote which national, political and territorial side they are on.

2) (Geo)Political borders perceived and held between Bosnia-Herzegovina and EU.

Inclusion of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the political and economic space of EU is linked to the successful transition to democratization. In the electoral period, the use of the right to vote is presented by the International organizations such as OSCE as the key to this process. Through the use of an evolutionist rhetoric, the political propaganda directed by foreigners, presents the high rate of abstensionism as a proof of Bosnian political backwardness on the way towards Europeanization.

3) Socio-economic borders highlighted by civilians movements such as DOSTA! (Enough!) who denounce material discrimination following trans-ethnic criteria.

Ethnonationalist arguments are here seen as a political trick to obscure the division line between a corrupted political and economical elite and the Bosnian society at large - the social victims of the wartime and of the collapse of the socialist political system (unemployed people, women, displaced persons, Roma etc...,).

Panel W059
Experiencing borders and boundaries in the post-socialist Southeastern Europe (SEE)