Refuchess: Locating Bosniac repatriates after the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Stef Jansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the central contradictions characterising the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina that emerged from the ashes of the 1992-1995 war concerns the territorial distribution of its population according to nationality. On the one hand, the foreign intervention, and the Dayton Peace Agreement it brokered, sanctioned its division into largely nationally homogenised polities, consolidating military conquests. On the other hand, large foreign funds were invested in programmes of refugee repatriation and return to redress ethnic cleansing, with considerable success in terms of property restitution. Rather than understanding these dynamics as a resurrection of a prior situation, this article considers them as part of a set of interrelated transformations. Working from ethnographic material gathered among Bosniac repatriates in the early phases of large-scale return, it first introduces the notion of refuchess, the strategic deployment and movement of nationalised persons across nationalised places. It then zooms out to investigate such return movements more generally in terms of different projects of home making and in terms of their paradoxical implications on the national demographic structure of Bosnia-Herzegovina. © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-152
Number of pages12
JournalPopulation, Space and Place
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Ethnic cleansing
  • Home
  • Refugees
  • Return


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