Shifting Morphology: Sarajevo Under Siege


  • Anisa Glumčević
  • Lejla Odobašić Novo


When violence and destruction occur in an urban setting, as was the case in the 1992-1995 siege of Sarajevo, the city takes on a new morphology as the citizens adapt their living habits. In the process they also adapt both urban and architectural spaces to the new-found circumstances as a form of survival strategy. Aside from mere survival, the notion of civic resistance also becomes crucial in such instances, and in the case of Sarajevo, we argue in this paper, that it unfolded in the form of cultural production and ‘consumption’. The culture-related practices were in particular those that allowed for the creation of an alternate reality and in that way became a means of fighting against aggression, thus turning places of oppression into spaces of liberation. Utilizing the example of the siege of Sarajevo, this paper examines modes of urban destruction, the adaptability of the city’s tissue, and the formation of spaces that occur spontaneously through the acts of survival tactics and civic resistance of its citizens.

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