Those Who Left and Those Who Stayed: Diasporic ‘Brothers’ Seen as the New Others in the Bosnian Context
This article explores the division between the diaspora and the homeland dwellers in the context of post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina. More specifically, the focus is on the constructed otherness of perceived co-ethnics who left because of the war (the ‘leavers’) in relation to those who stayed in the country (the ‘stayers’). I argue that the division into stayers and leavers presents one of the most prominent non-ethnically framed Bosnian divisions. The article is based on two qualitative research projects, which I conducted between 2011 and 2016. The narratives selected to support the main argument were taken from my thirty-five interviews with people who experienced displacement. Twenty of these interviews were conducted with people resettled abroad (the diaspora) and fifteen involved people who were repatriated after living abroad for many years (the returnees). The case study thus provides the opportunity to explore the otherness that my interviewees experienced as one of the social divisions based on experiential and socio-economic differences. This type of division can – to some degree – challenge the perceived solidarities based on ethnic sameness among the people who reside in and originate from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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