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Making Sense in Srebrenica

Wagner, Suzanne (2014) Making Sense in Srebrenica. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Using ethnographic field data and interview data, this study demonstrates the complicated relationships that exist between residents in Srebrenica and the politics and narratives that claim to represent those residents. It also examines the complicated relationship between those residents and the common practices in which residents engage in Srebrenica. It organizes the strategies that residents use in response to these relationships in terms of Hirschman's exit, voice, and loyalty framework. By examining the strategies in these terms, the data reveal that residents make sense of their daily lives and practices by distinguishing between the behaviors they practice and the motivations that energize those behaviors.
Using this distinction between behaviors and motivations, together with the exit, voice, and loyalty framework, this study demonstrates that in fact, understanding motivations for behaviors is an important element in order to understand life in Srebrenica. In Rawls' terms, this thesis shows that the people in Srebrenica have multiple meaning systems for the practices in which they engage. Sometimes practices constitute an image of an ethnically-tense Srebrenica as a social object. Other times those same practices constitute an image of Srebrenica that is cosmopolitan. The people of Srebrenica are constituting both of these social objects in their everyday practices. It is the shared meanings between individuals that determines which object is being constituted.
The thesis contributes to the literatures in sociology on constitutive orders, political disengagement, and collective narratives. It also develops an analytical framework that, in the same way that A.O. Hirschman demonstrated that exit is an important concept for economists, exit is also an important concept for sociologists in order to understand how society works.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Wagner, Suzannesew61@pitt.eduSEW61
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBamyeh, Mohammedmab205@pitt.eduMAB205
Committee MemberMarkoff, Johnjm2@pitt.eduJM2
Committee MemberWaverly, Duckwod1@pitt.eduWOD1
Date: 27 January 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 16 October 2013
Approval Date: 27 January 2014
Submission Date: 21 November 2013
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 231
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Sociology
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: political disengagement, collective memory, cultural trauma narratives, Bosnia, ex-Yugoslavia, constitutive practices, exit, voice, loyalty, Srebrenica, ethnography
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2014 16:18
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:15


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