Accepted Paper:

Spaces of separation and of integration: identities and symbolism in the evolution of post-war Mostar  


Vanni D'Alessio (Universit√° di Napoli Federico II)
Eric Gobetti (Scuola Superiore Studi Storici di San Marino)

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyses the competing views and forces of conflict and cooperation in post-war Mostar, and how the different forms of territorial, cultural and confessional local identifications are portrayed through the representations and the symbolic use of the urban space.

Paper long abstract:

Fragmentation and cohesion are two opposed funding forces and elements of Mostar demographic, cultural and political history. A sense of distinction and uniqueness has traditionally been, and still is, an important aspect of the local urban identity, but Mostar's historical picture of cohesion can be easily reversed underlying the high difficulties in, and the strong reluctance to cooperation and pacific coexistence between groups.

In this paper, our intention is to focus on the trends towards separation and conflict, and on those towards cohesion and cooperation in Mostar, and to see how these attitudes and inclinations have interacted in the very recent history. Our paper is based on a research we are conducting on the historical evolution of the political geography in Mostar after the 1990s war. The research has started in association with a project of an ethnographic film on postwar Mostar ("Around Mostar, the Bridge and Bruce Lee"). The task of our research, partly overlapping with the fieldwork for the ethnographic film, has been to observe the visual traces and discuss the symbolism in the urban public space to analyze the extent of division and integration in town. Therefore, in our research we are trying to observe how the two main and dominant ethnic and national groups present in Mostar since the end of the war have been interacting in the public arena, and to observe the elements of conflict and cooperation between them and among the whole population.

Panel W018
Mutuality and difference in multireligious local communities: the politics of neighbourliness