Tense and Tension in Long-Term Fieldwork: How Postwar Is Postwar Sarajevo?



Along with the knowledge gained from lived experience, the main things we can learn from doing and writing about long-term fieldwork amid what Burawoy and Verdery (1999) call “uncertain transitions” are those hard to describe, fluid factors external to individual agency and to the workings of local knowledge. Based on extended research in Sarajevo after the signing of the 1995 Dayton Accords that ended a heinous war fought for and against ethnic cleansing, this article addresses the double difficulty of conducting fieldwork and writing a text that credits the dynamism of time while also accounting for the entrenchment of terms and practices that are setting the parameters of culture in postwar Sarajevo.