Politics & Political Theory

Why are “we” called “them”?: Storytelling and the contested terrain of post-conflict public formation

Efforts to repair wounded social relations and rebuild political institutions typically target young people, who are viewed with a mix of hope and anxiety as the future leaders of the country. Efforts undertaken by civil society organizations, and funded by international donors, emphasize dialogue and tolerance through civic engagement. Dialogue, tolerance, and engagement aim at inclusive forms of peaceful community building and public togetherness, yet notions of what constitutes the political community are inherently contested. Moreover, tolerance efforts targeting youth often combine face-to-face forms of dialogue with the use of digital media aiming at broader public engagement, potentially introducing further anxiety over fraught forms of community and public-ness. This paper discusses a digital story/community mapping project conducted with two youth-led civil society organizations in Sarajevo/East Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Although the youth organizations share an ethical commitment to dialogue promotion, the dialogue produced through this creative collaboration was fraught with conflicting views of how to commemorate past violence and different definitions of what constitutes community.

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Volume 38 Issue 2

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