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Accepted Paper:

Navigating social emptiness: an intimate ethnography of neighbourhood relationships in times of crisis in Bosnia  
Ivana Ljustina (Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Utrecht University, NL)

Paper short abstract:

Political instability in Bosnia has affected intimate relationships. How do people care for loved ones without state support, and how do people cope with uncertainty and indignities in times of crisis through ways of thinking about familial relationships based on everyday relatedness?

Paper long abstract:

The ongoing political instability and economic decline in Bosnia have significantly impacted intimate human relationships, particularly those centred around family and kinship. With many Bosnian citizens emigrating, those who remain often face a sense of social emptiness as they struggle to maintain relationships and care for loved ones without support from the state. The global migration crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic have only exacerbated these challenges.

In this paper, I present an intimate ethnographic account of neighbours' everyday lives and relationships in a small apartment building in the town of Bihać. I focus on how these individuals navigate the difficulties of social emptiness and maintain close, intimate connections through acts of care and emotional support. Through this analysis, I aim to unpack the various forms of relatedness that emerge in times of crisis and highlight the importance of neighbourhood relationships as a source of practical social connection and substitute for traditional forms of kinship.

Furthermore, I propose new ways of thinking about familial relationships that go beyond solidarity and instead focus on the critical aspects of everyday relatedness. The stories of these individuals can provide insight into how people learn to cope with prolonged uncertainty and indignities and how the past crisis can inform our understanding of present and future crises.

Panel Narr01
Family as a safe haven? Families in social practice and narratives in times of crises
  Session 2 Saturday 10 June, 2023, -