Academic journal article European Journal of Tourism Research

Post-War Tourism and the Imaginative Geographies of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia

Academic journal article European Journal of Tourism Research

Post-War Tourism and the Imaginative Geographies of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

In 1989, the disintegration of the former Republic of Yugoslavia commenced with violent secessions for independence. By 1995, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Croatia became independent, as nationalistic movements led to the creation of independent states. Internationally, BiH and Croatia were recognized in 1992. Later that year, both countries joined the international community, with acceptance into the United Nations (see Klemencic and Zagar, 2004; Oluiæ , 2007; Rogel, 2004). Post-conflict, the former Republic of Yugoslavia is now seven independently politically sovereign countries. Of the seven newly formed nations that once comprised the Republic of Yugoslavia, this work focuses specifically on BiH and Croatia because each country has taken a slightly different approach to their tourism endeavors. Both countries were devastated by the conflict that broke apart the Republic of Yugoslavia. Physically, the countries are different because Croatia has the Adriatic Sea while BiH for the most part is landlocked, with the exception of a small amount of land extending to the sea. These two countries also make this study unique due to their simultaneous histories of conflict, and as this paper develops the modes of discourse examined (re)construct each country's image.

The outline of this paper begins with the conceptual three-fold typology being presented and applied to this research. Next, the literature review discusses memory, post-war tourism, discourse, and imaginative geographies. The following section details the interpretative methods used prior to going into the analysis segment. The section, (re)imaging landscapes through tourism, presents and reflects on the textual and visual content on BiH and Croatia to place these countries as case studies in the three-fold typology. The conclusion follows thereafter.

2. Conceptual Three-Fold Typology

This research will locate and display how contrasting types of tourism discourses have (re)created or (re)constructed the imaginative geographies of a country's post-war image and landscapes. The contribution being proposed in this paper is a three-fold typology to classify where countries fit, based on how they are perceived or communicated to audiences. Questions that influence the production of this research include: how does a country's presentation (re)present the country's unique places and landscapes? In addition, is the mode of discourse simply trying to eliminate references of the conflict in the landscape, focusing more on cultural and physical attributes? With these questions in mind, this research contributes to the growing literature on post-conflict countries, and multiple representations consumed vis-à-vis alternative discourses. The three typologies being proposed in this paper bring into context: landscape remembrance, fading memory, and replacing memory.

Landscape remembrance relates specifically to integrating or educating potential tourists directly about the events that transpired during the conflict (see for example, Clouser, 2009), or 'war tourism' as will be further described by McLaren (2001). This includes details of constructed monuments, important places, or manifested memorials seeking to designate reflections of war that envision the past. By imagining the war-torn landscape, future travelers are presented directly with how their imaginations of a place were constructed in the media. Therefore, the presented semblance of the landscape has not been significantly redeveloped and calmly stands as a symbol of remembrance to the conflict. The second typology is fading memory, which involves some recognition of a conflict but places more emphasis on the future as time elapses since a period of conflict; this is often times positioned between remembering and forgetting (see for example, Müller, 2002; O'Keeffe, 2007; Whitehead, 2009). Therefore, this typology represents transition, a medium that integrates the past and present, though redevelopments and investments attempt to fade previous violence to (re)construct alternative imaginative geographies of a place or country. …

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