The Second generation’s imagery of the Bosnian war (1992-1995)

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Kalina Yordanova


What became of my parents during the war?” “How did the war world look?” These are the questions many children of war survivors ask themselves while reconstructing their family’s war past. In the absence of a coherent war narrative, children find answers to these questions in everyday exchanges with their parents. Parents’ illness, flashbacks, dreams, war jokes and artefacts inform the answers to these questions. In daily interaction between parents and children, children translate the fragments coming in the form of bodily symptoms, acts of speech and artefacts into a comprehensive version of their parents’ biography. The process of decoding meaning resembles the reconstruction of the meaning of a dream. Through the displacement and condensation of meaning, acts and objects introduce the various aspects of the war as experienced by each survivor. While linking these acts and objects to their own lived experience in order to grasp the war past of their parents, children of war survivors from Bosnia and Herzegovina create five metaphors of the war: a scene[AA1] [AA2]  with no people, an attack on the family home, survival at the expense of personal integrity, a dirty job assigned to heroes and faceless horror. This paper examines the meaning of these metaphors in relation to identity construction.

 [AA1]I think this should be scene.  Check throughout for consistency



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Yordanova, K. (2015). The Second generation’s imagery of the Bosnian war (1992-1995). Anthropology of East Europe Review, 33(1), 70–86. Retrieved from