Coffee Culture and Warrior Ethos: About the discourse of Balkanism in Yugoslavian Civil War tourism in the city of Sarajevo

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This research is concerned with the signs of Balkanism in the tourist industry of Sarajevo. According to Edward M. Bruner, tourists create narratives in three stages, namely pre-tour, during tour, and post-tour. By employing a (Critical) Discourse Analysis of tourism in the city of Sarajevo the presence of Balkanism and its representation will be investigated. The signs of three attractions connected to the Yugoslavian Civil War (Tunnel of Hope, Sniper Alley, and Gallery 11/07/95) are analyzed with the Semiotics of Attraction. The analysis of all three narratives is supported by a theoretical framework on authenticity and authority of destinations’ narratives, the tourist gaze, second gaze, host gaze, experience of a destination, and notion of Balkanism. The term Balkanism derives from the Ottoman word for the bare cliffs between Romania and Bulgaria, but over time started to be a referent for the countries in the south east of Europe, and later expanded to the cultural paradigm. The Balkan countries are a part of Europe, but travelogues suggest that the overall impressions of the country also bear many Oriental influences. Since the 1930’s, Maria Todorova (2009) retraced, it has began to be invested with cultural meanings, rather than mere geographical. Prejudices on the Balkans are for instance that its inhabitants are violent, backward, and poor. The Balkan Wars and Yugoslavian Civil War which both took place during the previous century have confirmed these ideas. In every chapter, three case studies are analyzed in order to come to a conclusion of the representation of Balkanism in Yugoslavian Civil War tourism in Sarajevo. Noticeable, for instance, is that the producer’s or narrator’s authority influences the story, but not necessarily the interpretation of signs. A second observation worth mentioning is that the mediation by western sources such as Lonely Planet, TripAdvisor, Micheal Palin and Patrick Lodiers more often frame Sarajevo by its prints and traces rather than any other competing narrative. Consequently, the question could be asked what makes that people want to retell the story of the Yugoslavian Civil War and the Balkans.
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