Balkan Politics and Society

A Journey to Bosnia


In this daring experiment in ethnographic place-writing, cultural geographer James Riding aims to get at the heart of post-conflict Bosnia showing the past alongside the present it created via a series of journeys, and through the retelling of memories. The juxtaposition between the siege of Sarajevo and supersonic metal, the refugee journey and the aid-worker travelling in the other direction, the desperation and fury to change the present yet being stuck with many of the ethno-nationalist politicians and politics of the past—it is a journey to Bosnia as it is understood today in popular discourse, a war-torn place defined by ethnic conflict, yet also a journey to deconstruct and reveal more than ancient ethnic hatreds portrayed on television screens across the globe from 1992 to 1995.

Heavy with the weight of history on the one hand, and an inspirational place with radical emancipatory politics on the other, it is only through innovative storytelling that one can attempt to give a sense of what Bosnia itself is like in words for those who have never been, and—most importantly—for those who are from there.