People and things in the ethnography of borders: materialising the division of Sarajevo
Article first published online: 6 FEB 2013
© 2013 European Association of Social Anthropologists.
Volume 21, Issue 1, pages 23–37, February 2013
How to Cite
Jansen, S. (2013), People and things in the ethnography of borders: materialising the division of Sarajevo. Social Anthropology, 21: 23–37. doi: 10.1111/1469-8676.12001
- Issue published online: 6 FEB 2013
- Article first published online: 6 FEB 2013
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
This article addresses the contrasting pull of two tendencies in anthropology: (a) calls to redress the purification of human from non-human actants and (b) calls to denaturalise notions of borders as things, foregrounding borderwork. The resulting dilemma – do we treat people and things as equivalent actants on a ‘flat’ plane or not?– is explored through an ethnographic exercise on the border that divides Sarajevo. This case study crystallises methodological possibilities, implications for critique and matters of accountability presented by either path. Ultimately, I argue, a focus on things is productive insofar as it functions within a focus on human practice.