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Writing place after conflict: exhausting a square in Sarajevo

Lookup NU author(s): Dr James RidingORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Routledge, 2017.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


This essay returns to Sarajevo, a city visited by Georges Perec in 1957, employing field observation and ethnographic methods that he developed during the course of his writing career. The aim, in revisiting this city and in repeating Perecquian practices, is to move beyond the clich├ęd ways of seeing and writing Sarajevo only as a site of trauma and as a place defined by violence. My intention as such here is to document three days in one square in Sarajevo. Field notes taken during this time are copied out word for word in what follows. The words act as a record of the everyday things, bodily movements, and nonspectacular moments, often ignored in descriptions of places defined by their traumatic pasts. Writing turned out to be a performance in itself, as place, time, and word intertwined briefly and the recounting of a present-day Sarajevo took place. Yet through this repetitive representational action, trauma and political unrest resuggested themselves. Recording place became an attempt at repairing place, in its bodily occupation of a place and in its representation of an everyday place on the page.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Riding J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: GeoHumanities

Year: 2017

Volume: 3

Issue: 2

Pages: 431-450

Print publication date: 09/06/2017

Online publication date: 09/06/2017

Acceptance date: 03/04/2017

Date deposited: 25/09/2019

ISSN (print): 2373-566X

ISSN (electronic): 2373-5678

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/2373566X.2017.1321492

Notes: Green open access: included in Tampere University Tampub Repository


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Funder referenceFunder name
ECF 2013-638