Turbulent graffscapes and linguistic violence in post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina
In Bosnia-Herzegovina, the 1992–1995 war is the foundation on which its citizens are building their future. Contested spaces marked by violence are (re)created by means of graffiti frequently conveying locally hegemonic (re)narrations of legitimacy and attestation. Following the lead of scholars like Wee (2016), Stroud (2016), Rubdy and Ben Said (2015), this paper scrutinizes how the ongoing struggles of Bosnia-Herzegovina are constituted and sustained through/in the intersection of language and space. The first set of analysed graffiti is taken from an online database and the second is collected during fieldwork in areas where territorial status is especially fraught. I offer a three-part analysis of the key ways explicitly partisan and sometimes intimidating messages are realized through the subtle interplay of semiotic and spatial resources. Turbulent graffscapes (Stroud, 2016) of Bosnia-Herzegovina are materializations of linguistic violence (Tirrell, 2012), generating hateful places which sustain and potentially deepen social tensions between ethnic groups.
Keywords: Bosnia-Herzegovina, graffscapes, linguistic landscapes, linguistic violence, turbulence
Published online: 26 March 2018
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