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Displacement and return : fears and silences in the field / Grgurinović, Ivona; Marković, Jelena.

By: Grgurinović, Ivona.
Contributor(s): Marković, Jelena [aut].
Material type: ArticleArticleSubject(s): Displacement, fear, silence, emotions eng In: Biennial Conference of the Finnish Anthropological Society 2017 - Entangled MobilitiesAbstract: The research that is the basis of this presentation is situated in a specific locality, the Croatian region of Lika, which has been marked by a history of conflict and violence (Second World War, war of the 1990s). In 1995, at the end of the conflict, over 200 000 people were displaced from Croatia, many of them from Lika. In the years following the end of the conflict, a smaller part of this number returned. The post-conflict, post-displacement and post-return condition entails for the researcher an encounter with silence and fear, which can produce unexpected performatives, contingent effects, other emotions, aestheticized articulations, verbal and non-verbal narrative forms, miscommunications, constitution of different objects of emotions, etc. Although the research took place in a specific space, its subject is not this space and its history, but its quality of being a neuralgic spot in situ and in relation to the big Other. This for a large part defines and shapes the circulation of emotions (especially fear, anger, sadness) and their silences, and “unspeakabilities”. This presentation hopes to contribute to methodological and ethical insights when it comes to researching emotions that generate the spaces of silence in the field, but also in everyday life. That which is held back, suppressed, covered by fear in the fieldwork encounter, is not perceived as a flaw in an “ideal” ethnographic field, the fieldwork experience is not discredited for its lack of a verbalized story. On the contrary, we acknowledge it as an experience situated in different conditions, which allow for new epistemological insights into narrating trauma, fear, anxiety, suffering, victims, violence, persecution, return, but also joy and coexistence. We will not research silence as lack of communication but as communication itself.
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The research that is the basis of this presentation is situated in a specific locality, the Croatian region of Lika, which has been marked by a history of conflict and violence (Second World War, war of the 1990s). In 1995, at the end of the conflict, over 200 000 people were displaced from Croatia, many of them from Lika. In the years following the end of the conflict, a smaller part of this number returned. The post-conflict, post-displacement and post-return condition entails for the researcher an encounter with silence and fear, which can produce unexpected performatives, contingent effects, other emotions, aestheticized articulations, verbal and non-verbal narrative forms, miscommunications, constitution of different objects of emotions, etc. Although the research took place in a specific space, its subject is not this space and its history, but its quality of being a neuralgic spot in situ and in relation to the big Other. This for a large part defines and shapes the circulation of emotions (especially fear, anger, sadness) and their silences, and “unspeakabilities”. This presentation hopes to contribute to methodological and ethical insights when it comes to researching emotions that generate the spaces of silence in the field, but also in everyday life. That which is held back, suppressed, covered by fear in the fieldwork encounter, is not perceived as a flaw in an “ideal” ethnographic field, the fieldwork experience is not discredited for its lack of a verbalized story. On the contrary, we acknowledge it as an experience situated in different conditions, which allow for new epistemological insights into narrating trauma, fear, anxiety, suffering, victims, violence, persecution, return, but also joy and coexistence. We will not research silence as lack of communication but as communication itself.

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