9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN33 Women's and Gender Studies

2009-09-05 09:00:00 2009-09-05 10:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 09:00 - 10:30 The Role of Gender in the Democratisation Process at European, National and Local Levels Building II, C4.01

Femininity, patriarchy and resistance in the postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina

Acknowledging that womanhood in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has traditionally meant complying with the more or less rigid patriarchal norm, especially when a war came to an end, this paper seeks to contextualize current female identities in the postwar BiH by assessing women's discourses with respect to patriarchy and resistance.
After WWII, modernity and industrialization of the ex-Yugoslav society resulted in a greater equality and emancipation of women only to be reversed by the increased repatriarchalization and poverty that ensued after the 1992-1995 Bosnian conflict. We believed that such a situation only made it worse for all women in BiH irrespectful of their ethnicity or religion and expected the social status to be a more important determinant in coping with the patriarchal legacies and emancipatory demands. We thought that women in BiH have more or less developed certain mechanisms of resistance and wanted to look into them in a feminist action research study that combined various multidisciplinary elements.
Presuming discourse to be both socially determined and socially determinative when it comes to attitudes, identities and agency, this triangulated study combined available data from previous social research on women in the region with six focus groups of BiH women of different social status. Then we analyzed the obtained transcripts in the manner of critical discourse analysis (CDA) in order to see what resistance discourses and strategies they used on a day-to-day basis when it came to surviving under and subverting the conditions of oppression.