Rising mobilities and ethnography of informal construction in post-socialist Bosnia and Herzegovina

Rising mobilities and ethnography of informal construction in post-socialist Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Mišo Kapetanović

University of St.Gallen

November 29, 2019 / 4.00 pm

Library, Center for Urban History

Urban Seminar by Mišo Kapetanović will focus to explore if two historically unrelated concepts, car driven architecture (Venturi and Scott-Brown 1966) and the mobilities paradigm (Urry and Sheller 2006), may serve as an alternative exploration of Bosnian problem – rising informality in construction. Following the violent dissolution of former Yugoslavia (1991-1999) and postwar reconstruction (since 1995), there is a rapid expansion of privately built structures (both housing and service or industrial oriented) ignoring state and city regulation, development plans, and in cases, ownership rights.

The new context is particularly pronouncing in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but characteristic for much broader regions raising some old as well as further questions. Is rising informality in Bosnia a sign of East European inability to modernize, or more general failure of (post)socialist modernity to deliver the order in urban space, often advocated by local urban planners. Is this process more related to specific differences between European North and South, related to similar cases in Spain, Italy or Greece? Or is the phenomenon a result of more global reshuffling in the model of space formalization, associated with the growth of authority power in the construction sector and subsequent marginalization and servility of professionals.

In the presentation, Mišo will present the current state of the art in the research of informality of BiH and identify the gaps coming from a specific understanding of space development and history of modernist urban planning in Yugoslavia. To them, he outlays cases used for my doctoral research project, which illustrate how informal construction demonstrates articulated messages to the environment mediated by the largest method of mobility, a car. Studying this relationship teaches about reshuffling roles and institutions in the process of house making.

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Mišo Kapetanović

received PhD in Balkan Studies at the University of Ljubljana in 2017. He graduated philosophy and sociology at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Banja Luka (2010), and received a joint master’s degree in global studies from the University of Vienna and University of Leipzig (2010). Before postgraduate studies, he worked as outreach workers for hard-to-reach social groups such as sex workers and registered civil victims from the war 1992-1995 in Croatia (Documenta, 2012). He published several journal articles and book chapters dealing with contemporary working-class culture, informal construction, labor migration (gastarbajteri), popular music, and vernacular commemoration practices. His postdoctoral research project at the University of St.Gallen explores how labor migrants from former Yugoslavia use mobilities to construct spaces and new forms of belonging.

The event has a format of a workshop, with the guest researchers to discuss academic projects and research works on different stages of progress, and of the completed projects prepared for print.

Participation in the Urban Seminar implies reading and discussing the researcher’s text. If you wish to join the workshop, please, send an email to Nataliia Otrishchenko ([email protected]) to receive the materials in advance.