Browsing by Subject "Yugoslavia"

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  • Könönen, Anna (2006)
    This is a study of the process of returning. It examines how returnees rebuild homes and social networks in Prijedor area, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Social networks were lost because of the collapse of the former Yugoslavia, war, internal displacement and fleeing. Returning to the area of Prijedor began spontaneously, and was intensive especially during the years 2000 and 2001. The study is based on fieldwork in Prijedor (October-December 2001). The methods were participant observation, writing notes and a detailed field diary, and conducting interviews. This study searches answers to the questions why anyone wants to return to a place from where he and his family, relatives and friends were evicted, and to where they are still not wanted to return. In the discussion about what 'home' means for the returnees, the starting point is Karen Armstrong's argument about 'home' referring to both a place and to social relations. Furthermore, this study examines how the social network is rebuilt, and what are the elements that encourage or possibly discourage it. This discussion is based on Elisabeth Bott's and Jeremy Boissevain's theories of social networks, and additional theoretical discussion is included as the analysis proceeds. The study suggests that the social network is a vital element in survival strategies and in that way also central in the whole process of returning. The emphasis is that the study about social networks is essential especially in an unorganized state or society. It is argued that the environment, the psychological as well as the physical environment, has a vital function in building a social network. Therefore, the larger discourse in this thesis is how violence and nationalism are connected in daily life, and what would be possible actions that might prevent the rise of violent nationalism, in this case, ethnonationalism (Stanley Tambiah) and constitutional nationalism (Robert Hayden). The returnees encountered various obstacles, and even though international organizations and local Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) gave irreplaceable assistance, many challenges were left to tackle. The legacy of Tito's socialism and the 'transition' also influenced the work of the organizations. The study shows that one of the discouraging elements was bureaucratic ethnic cleansing, a term introduced by Robert Hayden. He considers both bureaucratic ethnic cleansing and direct violence as consequences of the same logic in different social settings. The discussion of ethnicity and Joel Halpern's analysis of the cyclical sense of time in which 'decades past become yesterday' gave additional body to the theory of 'transferred burden' (siirtotaakka) introduced by Martti Siirala and Sirpa Kulonen. Cyclical sense of time, this study argues, enforces the transfer of the 'burden'. Hence, it is concluded that due to the cyclical sense of time combined with the legacy of 'transition' and the 'transferred burden', self-repetitive historical structures exist producing such internal as well as external forms that create a fertile ground for endemic and external interference of violent nature. The outcome is discouraging elements or even blocks in the process of building new networks as well as in the process of ensuring sustainable peace and well-being. By applying Victor Turner's theory of social drama to the cases of disturbances in social life, it is suggested that grass-root mediators would be trained. They would collect detailed feedback from all sides of the schism, process it, and share it as constructive feedback, for all parties again. It is also shown that it would be possible for the government – later on the people – to change some of the disintegrative features of its ethnic sentiment. Those would especially be the features of constitutional nationalism, state chauvinism and bureaucratic ethnic cleansing.