Dr Stef Jansen

research project: remaking borders

My first anthropological work on borders was conducted as part of a three-year (2008-2011) research project I co-ordinated on transformations of home and hope at three levels of post-Yugoslav borders: (a) the state borders between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, and between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, (b) the Inter-Entity Boundary Line within Bosnia and Herzegovina, and (c) the EU border, in the shape of visa queues and their geopolitical shadow: the queue for EU accession. The project asked: how, if at all, do these borders materialise in the everyday lives of differently positioned people? In what ways and under which conditions do they emerge as relevant, and how do they structure horizons of possibility and allow or prevent particular forms of home-making? How do different claims of soevereignty meet at borders? Financial support for this project was secured from the Leverhulme Trust. This project involved ethnographic research by two doctoral researchers, Čarna Brković and Vanja Čelebičić, and by myself. See publications for some results.
Extending from this earlier work, during 2016 I conducted ethnographic research in Neum, the only coastal municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A very young town, built mainly as a planned resort in socialist Yugoslav times from the late 1970s onwards, Neum is marked by the seasonal rhythms of the tourist industry. Its short coastline is demarcated by two borders with Croatian territory, with only a mountain road from inland BiH--narrow and impractical--providing alternative access. Since 2013, Neum is therefore caught between two EU border checkpoints. Retracing its short history as a municipality, my study seeks to understand the ways in which this specific location between two very proximate EU borders conditions everyday life for local inhabitants, holiday house owners, seasonal workers and guests.


go to other research projects:

hope, 'normal life' and the state in Bosnia and Herzegovina

experiences of home amongst displaced Bosnians

post-Yugoslav antinationalism