Postwar Life-Space and Music in Bosnia-Herzegovina
War and violent conflict can alter the physical and social living space available to young people in post-conflict societies in multiple ways. Ethnic partition of the geographical space – an increasingly common characteristic of postwar landscapes – further restricts the environment, creating the phenomenon of the divided city and enforcing rigid social and political norms that enshrine ethnicity as the primary form of identity across all spheres of public and private life. This chapter focuses on the divided city of Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and examines the way that one group of young people reclaimed the exploration of identity and the expansion of their constrained physical and social worlds through participation in music-making activities. It examines the self-reports of their experiences through the idea of “life space”, a concept most commonly found in gerontology but expanded in this study to encompass three dimensions – physical, inner, and social life space. The testimonies of former participants in the music activities form the primary data source. Data were gathered during a period of intensive ethnographic fieldwork in October–November 2013 and analyzed inductively and thematically. The relatively long retrospective view yielded findings that include the contributions that provision of diverse music activities made to the broad conflict stabilization and recovery effort, including goals concerned with peacebuilding and youth engagement. The provision of music and arts activities in a nonpolitical space were found to make a contribution to the maintenance of cultural alternatives in the city and the nurturing of a “capacity to aspire” among individuals, findings which have significance for locally driven development and the cultivation of more stable, tolerant societies.
Risk, Protection, Provision and Policy
Performing Arts and Creative Writing not elsewhere classified