War Monuments: Instruments of Nation-building in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Original scientific paper

Anida Sokol ; Sapienza University of Rome

Fulltext: pdf (279 KB), English, Pages 105 – 126

This article gives an overview of the three main mutually exclusive ethnonational narratives developed during and after the war (1992–1995) in Bosnia and Herzegovina through one of the main instruments of memory politics, i.e., monuments, which have been erected in large numbers in the last two decades. Through the analysis of symbols, shapes and inscriptions, the aim is to show how war monuments in Bosnia and Herzegovina serve as instruments of nation-building processes, i.e., strategies of identity consolidation and how they function as “containers of symbolism”. Unlike in the other Yugoslav successor states, in Bosnia and Herzegovina there is more than one nation-building project, with two being related to the “outside motherlands”, Serbia and Croatia, and one to the state. After a general overview of the memorialization process in Bosnia and Herzegovina and its political and legal frameworks, the author focuses on war monuments and narratives of the three ethno-national groups and gives some examples of monuments that represent the fourth, civic, or “unconstituent” narrative, which is very rare and marginal.

Monuments; War; Nation-building; Identity; Bosnia-Herzegovina