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Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership - Student Profiles



Experiences of nervoza (lit. trans. nervousness) are ubiquitous in Sarajevo, and the broader region of former Yugoslavia. Nervoza, simultaneously an idiom and an embodied experience of distress, plays out in a socio-political ‘post-war’, ‘post- socialist’, and normative ‘pre-EU’ accession context. Yet, the multitude of experiences that nervoza seemingly covers tend to be academically and publically reduced to a sole consequence of the wars that led to the disintegration of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In this vein, Sarajevans collectively suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder and associated distressing afflictions, often labelled as ‘depression’. My research seeks to ethnographically scrutinise this commonsensical view through a mutually entangled archival and affectual perspective. I intend to inquire which experiences of ‘distress’ have historically been compressed through the idiom of nervoza, and associated concepts like depression and trauma. Concurrently, by locating it in the everyday domain, the research highlights its current emic workings in Sarajevo. This approach allows for a diachronic understanding of nervoza which traces its social and political trajectories. On a theoretical level, this contributes to a thoroughly historicised conceptualisation of affect, opposed to a dominant a-historical and analytically vague reading, while relating it to changing political and everyday reverberations. (a more personalised bio will follow)


Other Academic interests

° Poetics (visual methodologies, creative writing, ...)

° Decolonising theory, research methods & practice

° Critical psychology & psychiatry

° Practice-oriented research

° Philosophy (beyond the 'privileged white male gaze')

° Life & concepts (the difficulty of grasping the vitalism of lives through relatively static concepts)

Department: Social Anthropology
Supervisor: Dr Yael Navaro
College: Churchill
AHRC subject area: Ethnography and Anthropology
Title of thesis: Nervoza: Archival-to-Everyday Affectual Entanglements in Post-War Sarajevo (provisional)
 Jasmin  Tabaković