Hip Hop at Europe's Edge: Music, Agency, and Social Change

By Milosz Miszczynski; Adriana Helbig | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE:
Hip Hop in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Jasmin Mujanović

THE CENTRAL ARGUMENT of this chapter concerns the function of hip hop in postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH).1 I observe that thematically, BiH hip hop is still working through the horrors and absurdism of the dissolution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRJ) and the kleptocratic postwar “democratic” transition, focusing in particular on the results of the Dayton constitutional order. In a country where peace has meant depoliticization and disenfranchisement, hip hop represents one of the few youthful, militant, politicized voices of critique, protest, and resistance. This voice, then, is both a rejection of the nominal “Europeanization” project of the European Union (EU) and the United States in BiH, as well as of the dominant (though internally fractured) ethno-chauvinist paradigm.

As such, this chapter is divided into two primary sections, the first explaining the present political arrangement of the state of BiH and the second detailing the thematic concerns and perspectives of Bosnian hip hop, in direct response to the political and social conditions within the country. It is necessary, however, to contextualize the emergence of the present political situation in BiH, as well as the emergence of BiH hip hop in a broader historical narrative.


THE DISSOLUTION OF YUGOSLAVIA & DAYTON BIH

The dissolution of the SFRJ had its origins not in Robert Kaplan’s famed “ancient ethnic hatreds” thesis (Kaplan 1993), but rather in a narrow, conservative, antidemocratic reaction against the move toward decentralization and democratization that had begun with the 1974 constitutional reforms. The 1974 reforms

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