Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Southeast European History

Đorđe Tomić

New Borders – Old Borders

Processes of symbolic delimitation and discourses of alterity in Vojvodina during the 1990ies


This project will explore the delimitation processes and the creation of discourses of alterity within the context of the break-up of the Yugoslav socialist state and the subsequent redefinition of state borders.

The border alterations during this period were twofold. On one hand, borders were actually physically changed due to acts of war while on the other, their meaning and function was modified (for example from a republican internal border to a state international border). Both of these dimensions will be explored in this analysis.

Firstly, the creation and/or the resumption of discourses of alterity in Vojvodina, which played the role of a political anti-concept towards the (Greater) Serb nationalism, shall be explored. Secondly, the manner and extent in which these discourses of alterity impacted everyday life in Vojvodina will be explored by using the examples of two cities: Sombor, in Vojvodina and Zemun, administratively outside of Vojvodina (on a discursive level however, „on this side of the Save and the Danube“)

Questions about the change of, both political and symbolic, borders are of key relevance for the research project. As well as those about the connection between belongings and territoriality together with the relation between certain discourses and their respective images of space on one hand and of everyday life at the (political) borders on the other.

The PhD project is part of the research project “Phantom borders in East Central Europe“ and is supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).