Book chapter

Welcome to Sarajevo! Touring the powder keg

PublisherNew York : Seagull Books
Publication date2014

A powder keg: this stereotypical metaphor often describes the Balkans—a stable and quiet region that bursts into violence and becomes fractured under the spark of one single event. The city of Sarajevo was already compared to a powder keg in 1914, when Gavrilo Princip, a Serb nationalist, assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife. This incident is perceived as the event—the spark—that set off the First World War. This same image is frequently used in reference to what global media and movie productions commonly called ‘the Balkan wars'. The film The Powder Keg , produced in 1998 by the Serb director Goran Paskajevic, or Fire , by the Bosnian Pjer Zalica, are explicit illustrations of this metaphor. Though these films have had some impact beyond the borders of the former Yugoslavia, they are not well enough known to influence the imagination of potential foreign tourists. On the other hand, I would argue that the works of world famous director Emir Kusturica are a major factor in the production of a Balkan imagination, steeped in gipsy music, alcohol and guns.

  • Tourism
  • War
  • Bosnia
  • Imaginary
  • Representation
  • Balkanism
  • Heritage
Citation (ISO format)
NAEF, Patrick James. Welcome to Sarajevo! Touring the powder keg. In: Death Tourism: Disaster Sites as Recreational Landscape. New York : Seagull Books, 2014.
Main files (1)
Book chapter (Published version)
  • PID : unige:79973

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