Social Aspects of Memory : Stories of Victims and Perpetrators from Bosnia-Herzegovina book cover
1st Edition

Social Aspects of Memory
Stories of Victims and Perpetrators from Bosnia-Herzegovina

ISBN 9780415789554
Published May 23, 2019 by Routledge
154 Pages

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Book Description

Social Aspects of Memory presents a compelling study of how ordinary people remember war. Whilst the book focuses on the cities of Sarajevo and East Sarajevo during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Jeftić also presents narratives from other war-torn cities and countries around the world. This book adopts a unique approach, by looking at how perpetrators and victims (as well as new generations who may not remember the war directly) manage in the aftermath of war. Jeftić explores how our memories of war and violence are formed, and how we can learn to reconcile those memories, individually and as a collective.

Drawing on the author’s own extensive empirical research, the book explores the connections between memories for significant war events, transgenerational transmission of memories, bias for in-group wrongdoings and readiness for reconciliation between two groups.

Giving a voice to underrepresented narratives and prioritising the importance of expression as a necessary catalyst for reconciliation, this book is essential reading for those interested in collective and transgenerational memory and memory studies, especially in relation to the aftermath of the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 - Sarajevo for Beginners: History, Culture and Politics from the Ottoman Empire to Post-Dayton Bosnia-Herzegovina

Chapter 2 - The Siege of Sarajevo between „Mnene" and „Anamnesis"

Chapter 3 - Sins of Memory: Terror of Remembrance and Terror of Forgetting

Chapter 4 - Memory and Remembrance in Divided Bosnia-Herzegovina between a "labour in vain" and perspective taking


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Alma Jeftic is a PhD candidate in Psychology at the University of Belgrade, Serbia, President of the Association of Psychologists in Federation Bosnia-Herzegovina – Sarajevo Subsidiary, and a Governing Board member of the Research Network on Transnational memory and Identity in Europe (Council for European Studies at Columbia University).


"This is an excellent study of social memory as articulated by the war narratives in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Alma Jeftić’s book is based on the primary research among ordinary individuals across the line of ethnic divide. By successfully combining quantitative and qualitative methods with the theoretical insights this empirically rich and comprehensive study makes an important contribution to the literature on psychology and sociology of memory and representation." - Siniša Malešević, Professor of Sociology, University College, Dublin, Ireland

"Situated at the intersections of psychology, memory studies and peace and conflict research, this book demonstrates the crucial importance of examining the psychological dimensions of peacebuilding. Alma Jeftic's investigation into remembrance of the siege of Sarajevo brings important insights into the role of individual and social memory for fraught processes of postwar coexistence." - Johanna Mannergren Selimovic, The Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Sweden

"In this compelling study of long-term psychological effects of mass violence in Bosnia, Alma Jeftić shows how traumatic events are being remembered by different groups and individuals, and how memories are being passed on to new generations with no first-hand experience of the events. This book is a crucial contribution to our understanding of collective memory, shared trauma and possibilities for reconciliation in societies torn apart by war." - Tea Sindbæk Andersen, Associate Professor, Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen, Denmark