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Managing Ambiguity

How Clientalism, Citizenship and Power Shapes Personhood in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Čarna Brković

196 pages, 2 figures, 1 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-414-6 $120.00/£85.00 Hb Not Yet Published (July 2017)

eISBN 978-1-78533-415-3 eBook Not Yet Published

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“There is much to love about this book - the choice to address what is extremely rich ethnographic material through three interlocking analytical categories: personhood, citizenship, and power is, in my view, an incredibly productive exploration of everyday life, sociality and social welfare.” · Paul Stubbs, Institute for Economics, Zagreb

Why do people turn to personal connections to get things done? Challenging widespread views of favors as means of survival in transitioning contexts, this volume demonstrates that these contemporary globalized forms of flexible governance are not contradictory to one another, but often mutually constitutive. Managing Ambiguity follows how citizenship was redefined as an ethical category during transformations of social protection in Bosnia and Herzegovina, showing how favors offered people a way to navigate the resulting ambiguity over welfare responsibilities. Rather than being the result of a “transitioning” and “flawed” statehood, favors evinced global tendencies to insert individual ethics and compassion into the heart of organization of welfare.

Čarna Brković is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies, Regensburg. She co-edited Negotiating Social Relations in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Routledge, 2016) and won 2015 SIEF Young Scholar Prize.

Series: Volume 31, EASA Series
Subject: General Anthropology Peace & Conflict Studies Postwar History
Area: Southern Europe

BISAC: SOC002010 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Anthropology/Cultural; POL003000 POLITICAL SCIENCE/Civics & Citizenship; POL035010 POLITICAL SCIENCE/Political Freedom & Security/Human Rights

BIC: JHMC Social & cultural anthropology, ethnography; GTJ Peace studies & conflict resolution


Note on transliteration



Chapter 1. Creating Knowledge about Others: Locating, Knowing “by Sight”, and Ethnography
Chapter 2. Favors Reproduce Social Personhood


Chapter 3. Local Community and Ethical Citizenship: Neoliberal Reconfigurations of Social Protection
Chapter 4. Pursuing Favors within a Local Community


Chapter 5. Managing Ambiguity in Social Protection
Chapter 6. Navigating Ambiguity: the Moveopticon

Conclusion: Morality, Interest, and Sociality in the Global Postsocialist Condition


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