Hope For/Against the State: Gridding in a Besieged Sarajevo Suburb

Stef Jansen

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Anthropological dealings with the state often convey hope by replicating the hope of their subjects against the state. This libertarian paradigm provides effective analytical tools to grasp people's evasion of state grids, through cultural resilience-in-authenticity and/or autonomous self-organisation. Yet it cannot conceptualise their affective and practical investments in ordering statecraft, i.e. their hope for the state. Through a case study of self-organisation in the besieged outskirts of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, this article traces inhabitants' yearnings for 'normal lives' and their efforts to allow the latter to unfold. I focus on schooling and its temporal calibration of routines, framed in the vertical encompassment of statecraft. Against the reduction of hope to hope against the state, the complementary analytical tool of 'gridding', I propose, allows an alternative form of replication, capturing people's yearnings for the convergence of top-down and upward/outward organisation of predictability on different scales. © 2013 Routledge Journals, Taylor and Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-260
Number of pages22
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • gridding
  • hope
  • normal lives
  • State


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