Accepted Paper:

Family house between the past and the future - Transnational Families and the Ambivalences of Remembrance in Bosnia-Hercegovina  

Author:

Sanda Üllen (University of Vienna)

Paper short abstract:

The presentation discusses the role of the family house as an active participant in construction of memories in post-war Bosnia. Following a processual concept of memory, the family house is perceived as an ambivalent site of memories, revealing negotiations about the past, present and future.

Paper long abstract:

In perceiving the family house as an active participant in construction of memories, where personal, familial and (trans)national memories intersect, this presentation explores the dialectic relationship between space, time and memories in post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina. Based on data from ethnographic fieldwork in Bosnia, Denmark and Sweden, I conceptualize the family house as an ambivalent site of memory and analyze how narrative constructions over past, present and future are negotiated within the families though the object of the house and the yard. As such the house and the yard reveal different layers of ambivalences, including the ambivalent feelings towards the changed notion of "home" and the temporal reference between "pre-war" and "post-war" homes, making it itself a mobile concept where people use different mnemonic practices in order to manage their memories and (re)make "homes" in changed political situations. While the parents combine their visits to Bosnia and the family house with the narratives about the past, the children perceive the orientation towards the past as too overwhelming and as a burden. Thus, the family house reveals the negotiations and struggles about the past, present and future as well as the ambivalences within which strongly influence peoples' feelings of belonging and practices of emplacement over time.

Panel P043
Temporalities of the past: moments, memories, and futures in the making