Cultural Trauma Set in Stone? The Case of Shelling of Dubrovnik

Original scientific paper

Ana Ljubojević ; University of Zagreb
Mia Jerman ; University of Zagreb
Kosta Bovan ; University of Zagreb

Fulltext: english, pdf (320 KB) pages 197-219 cite

During the war in former Yugoslavia, city of Dubrovnik was shelled in 1991. Even though these experiences were traumatic for all those involved, the goal of this paper was to explore if these events resulted in a cultural trauma, i.e. a breakage of cultural patterns and of collective identity. We expected that the process of trauma-claiming, which is central to cultural trauma, was amplified because of the role, both physical and symbolic, that the Old Town played for the collective identity of Dubrovnik. In the paper, we give an outline of the war in Dubrovnik. To assess the way that the war in Dubrovnik affected the collective identity, as well as to find out the relation between personal and collective historical narratives, we conducted interviews with 13 informants. We observed that all the phases of trauma-claiming were successful, or in other words, that there indeed was a cultural trauma in Dubrovnik as a consequence of the shelling. Additionally, we were able not only to observe expressions of cultural trauma experienced by our informants, but also to trace further changes and developments spanning to the present day.

Cultural Trauma; Trauma-Claiming; Collective Identity; Narratives; Shelling

Hrčak ID: 183306