Berghahn Books Logo

berghahn New York · Oxford

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
Places of Pain: Forced Displacement, Popular Memory and Trans-local Identities in Bosnian War-torn Communities

View Table of Contents

Volume 10

Space and Place

Email Newsletters

Sign up for our email newsletters to get customized updates on new Berghahn publications.

Click here to select your preferences

Places of Pain

Forced Displacement, Popular Memory and Trans-local Identities in Bosnian War-torn Communities

Hariz Halilovich

288 pages, 20 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-776-9 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (February 2013)

ISBN  978-1-78238-762-6 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (September 2015)

eISBN 978-0-85745-777-6 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


Honorable Mention 2013 PROSE Awards, Archaeology and Anthropology section

“This is, overall, a carefully researched book following the tradition of Geertzian thick description in an effort to contribute theoretically through the concept of translocalism, analyze reflexively via the author’s own history of displacement and emplacement, and comment in a heartfelt way on how refugees recreate social worlds even after massive destruction. Halilovich’s account deserves room in any upper-level, if not introductory, undergraduate or graduate course covering some aspect of international migration, especially forced displacement — a phenomenon impacting some 50 million people around the world today.” · International Migration Review

“Halilovich’s book ... powerfully highlights the translocal as the most critical aspect of the diasporic love, care, loyalty, and community. Furthermore, the author’s personal investment, respect, attention, and engagement with “his” people and places are truly admirable. The book should be of great interest to scholars interested in the studies of displacement, memory, and identity projects in postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina and beyond.” · American Ethnologist

“Scholars of transnational migration and diaspora will find in this book a compelling exploration of the day-to-day practices of translocalism. What is most valuable in Halilovich’s approach is that it encourages analysis of both homogeneous national and religious groups and heterogeneous multiethnic collectives in empirical, rather than essentialist or ideological, terms. By de-emphasizing the traditional or official markers of difference in Bosnia, Halilovich sheds light on how collective identities may be fostered through shared attachment to places remembered, imagined, and real.” · Slavic Review

“In his study of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s legacy of forced migration, Hariz Halilovich takes us on a powerful, at times heartwrenching, journey into the lives, memories, and communities of the war’s displaced…[It] represents an important contribution to the anthropological scholarship of the region, forced migration, and transnationalism. Halilovich has done a masterful job in leading us through critical, underexamined interstices of pain and place that so forcefully define the experiences of Bosnia’s displaced persons.” · American Anthropologist

“This is one of the most powerful accounts – the most powerful account by a survivor – of the impact of forced displacement in the wake of the Bosnian conflict…The book is a survivor’s account and at the same time a scholarly critique of what happened. It is an exemplar of engaged and informed writing: moving and informative, evocative and profound. It is a deeply serious book, but with the light touch of an accomplished writer.” · Ron Adams, Victoria University

“This title addressed the complexity of lives of the Bosnian diaspora and issues of the trans-local identities like no other book before. The fact that the author has himself experienced the war and the refugee experience, as well as demonstrated the awareness of the process of forging his own new-old identity, contributes greatly to the quality of this book.” · Edina Becirevic, University of Sarajevo

“This is a first-class text, covering a hitherto neglected topic. It is original and of a very high intellectual standard. It is crisply written, well structured, based on extensive primary research and guided by a solid theoretical understanding… there are very few English-language books in this field that really impress me, but this is one of them.” · Marko Hoare, Kingston University, UK


For displaced persons, memory and identity is performed, (re)constructed and (re)negotiated daily. Forced displacement radically reshapes identity, with results ranging from successful hybridization to feelings of permanent misplacement. This compelling and intimate description of places of pain and (be)longing that were lost during the 1992–95 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as of survivors’ places of resettlement in Australia, Europe and North America, serves as a powerful illustration of the complex interplay between place, memory and identity. It is even more the case when those places have been vandalized, divided up, brutalized and scarred. However, as the author shows, these places of humiliation and suffering are also places of desire, with displaced survivors emulating their former homes in the far corners of the globe where they have resettled.


Hariz Halilovich, social anthropologist and writer, is an Associate Professor and Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow at the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University, Melbourne. He has been recipient of a number of prestigious research and writing awards in Australia and internationally.

Subject: Refugee & Migration Studies General Anthropology Peace & Conflict Studies
Area: Central/Eastern Europe


Table of Figures
A note on pronunciation of some specific Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian characters
Glossary of non–English words
List of selected abbreviations

Chapter 1. Introduction: The Journey through Bosnian War‒torn Communities

  • Writing Displacement of Bosnians
  • Practical Challenges
  • Theoretical Challenges
  • Methodological Challenges
  • Reflexive Ethnography
  • Ethics and Politics of the Research

Chapter 2. Klotjevac: Forced Displacement and ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ in an Eastern Bosnian Village

  • Reunion
  • When You Forget July
  • Journey to a Village
  • Once there was a Community
  • Beliefs and Rituals
  • Taboos
  • In Šljivovica Veritas
  • Human Geography of the Place
  • Annihilation of a Community
  • The ‘(UN)Safe Area’ Srebrenica
  • Recognising Genocide
  • Back to the Present
  • Mapping displacement
  • Conclusion

Chapter 3. Beyond the Sadness: Narratives of Displacement, Refuge and Homecomings among Bosnian Refugees in Austria

  • Debating Displacement
  • Narrating Displacement
  • Sejo in Vienna
  • Edita’s ‘Wonderland’ in Vienna
    Mapping Edita’s Lost Home
    Less than ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ Between Edita and Ibro
  • Prijedor Region—Blueprint for ‘Ethnic Cleansing’
  • Massacre in Hegići
  • Massacre in Brdo
  • Edita, Ibro and Sejo in Austria
  • Edita’s Homecoming
  • Torn Between Home and Exile, Past and Present

Chapter 4. (Dis)Placing Memories: Monuments, Memorials and Commemorations in Post–war Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • The Funeral at Hegići
  • Omarska
  • Keraterm and Trnopolje
  • Srebrenica/Potočari Commemorations
  • Mostar Carrying its Cross
  • Sarajevo Remembers

Chapter 5. Reframing Identity in Places of Pain: A Photographic Essay of Displacement and Memory

Chapter 6. Trans–local Diasporic Communities in the Age of Transnationalism: Bosnians in Australia, Europe and the US

  • Debating Diaspora
  • Emergence of the Bosnian Diaspora
  • One Family, Two Languages, Many Cultures
  • ‘German Bosnians’ in Sweden and ‘Aussie Bosnians’ from Germany
  • The Trans–local Within the Transnational
  • Brčko in Melbourne
  • Strengthening Unity through Inter–marriage
  • Other Forms of Trans–localism in Action
  • Formation of Trans–local Diasporic Communities
  • Conclusion

Chapter 7. Measuring the Pain of Others: Gendered Displacement, Memory and Identity

  • Re–counting the Displaced
  • ‘Not in My Front Yard!’: The Case of Fata Orlović
  • Ethnic Engineering
  • Uncounted ‘Collateral Damage’: The Case of Aunty Edina
  • (Mis)using IDPs
  • RefugeeWomen in Diaspora
  • Mothers’ Children

Chapter 8. Concluding the Journey through Bosnian War–torn Communities

  • Bosnian Vikings
  • Bosnian Midwesterners
  • Vienna Blues
  • Unearthing the Missing in Bosnia
  • From St Louis to St Albans: All Roads Lead to Hanna’s Café


Back to Top