Accepted paper:

Symbolic landscapes of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Kosovo in Serbia


Marija Grujic (Goethe University, Frankfurt)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the symbolic landscapes of refugee camps as new homes for many IDPs from Kosovo.It also sketches the imagined and lived religious landscapes through the celebration of the “family saint day” religious holiday,that is in Serbian Orthodox tradition closely connected to home and family life.

Paper long abstract:

In Serbia, a country with ca. eight million inhabitants, are living approximately 200,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Kosovo, most of whom are ethnically Serbs, with an additional 15,000 to 20,000 being unregistered Roma, Ashkali, Gorani and Bosniaks (U.S. DOS 2008; IDMC; UNHCR November 2009). Many IDPs are living in collective centers (similar to refugee camps) with unresolved political, citizen and economical status and are often used from the Serbian nationalist as an example of the "Serbian eternal suffer(ing)". Most of these collective camps used to be holiday resorts during the time of the former Yugoslavia. In the nineties, their landscape changed as they became shelters for the refugees coming to Serbia from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. At a later stage, IDPs from Kosovo settled at these collective camps and continue to living there today. This paper draws on ethnographical work and biographical interviews with Internally Displaced Persons from Kosovo living in Serbia and explores the symbolic landscapes of the above mentioned refugee camps as their new homes. Furthermore, it sketches the imagined and lived symbolic religious landscapes of the Serbian Orthodox Church through the celebrations of the Serbian family saint day tradition (in Serbian : slava) in the collective centers, as an important element for the preservation of religiosity and religious practices, through family and home life,among Orthodox Serbs.

panel WMW10
Listening landscapes, speaking memories