YOUNG PEOPLE, HIP-HOP, AND THE MAKING OF A ‘STREET UNPOLITICS’ IN SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractIn Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, a growing community of young people are using hip-hop music and the culture surrounding it as a grammar with which to evade the ethno-political fixity imposed upon them equally by projects of political nationalism and of reconciliation. Insofar as they respond to the legally and socially imposed regime of fixed ethnic identity and the precarious economic conditions they are faced with, they do so by imagining, playing, and working within the city as an archipelago of cosmopolitan spaces. In doing so, they also make urbanity and urban belonging an alternative pathway to political belonging, one that is premised in opposition to the country's ethno-national regime. Within these archipelagic spaces, young people develop a “grammar of politics” deeply influenced by local and global hip-hop by which to narrate and understand their own lives and mark their resistance to the status quo and the project of Bosnian state-making in which they are inevitably entangled. Following Rys Farthing, I argue that this set of discourses and practices represents a “youthful unpolitics"--a form of politics replete with nihilism and contradiction, that fades in and out of legibility, and that offers a political alternative precisely by not offering an alternative. In order to do so, I visit the spaces in which these young hip-hop fans circulate, and show how their construction of a culture around both 'local' and 'global' hip-hop provides a site in which alternative futures are imagined and the 'meantime' present is policed in order to effect such futures.
Degree ProgramHonors College