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Accepted Paper:

Reading post-war Sarajevo as text  
Gruia Badescu (University of Cambridge)

Paper long abstract:

The city, according to Walter Benjamin, is a "linguistic cosmos" of signs and symbols. My paper explores a reading of the city of Sarajevo as text, analyzing the way realities, dreams, aspirations and heterotopias are embedded in both visual cues and in narratives of Sarajevans. The paper distinguishes between the syntactic transformations of the post-war city (ie. architectural reconstruction) and the semantic changes (ie. meanings of places, practices of everyday life). The syntax of postwar Sarajevo is analyzed through exploring how destruction and reconstruction modified the urban text, similar to erasing and rewriting. Second, the perspective of the outsider-flâneur is used to read the signs inscribed in the city. In a third part, the paper examines lived experiences of Sarajevans. Several processes come to the foreground, including the segregation of experiences, yet an increasing blurring of boundaries, based on economic needs of individuals.

Panel W084
Balkan cities, Balkan dreams: exploring the future(s) of the city
  Session 1