CEI researcher Nikola Novak has just published an article entitled “Deconstructing the Discourse of Divisions: Mental Boundaries in the Divided City of Vukovar“, in co-authorship with Marta Zorko, Associate Professor at the University of Zagreb, in the peer-reviewed journal Belgeo, Revue belge de géographie (Belgian Journal of Geography).
The scope of this article fits within critical geopolitics and border studies. The Croatian War of Independence started in 1991 as a result of the deep Yugoslav crisis and clashed ideas about the future of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in which Croatia was one of the republics. One of the first cities on the territory of Croatia that suffered open aggression and siege by the Serb-controlled Yugoslav People’s Army was the city of Vukovar. Officially restored to internationally recognized borders of Croatia in 1998, this city stays remembered as one of the most bombed cities in Europe after the World War II.
The case study of Vukovar is interesting because war legacy influenced new local policies and politics; open border issues affect bilateral relations on state level; and micro-regional frictions show deep identity-based divisions. Regardless of the lack of physical obstacles in the urban structure of the city, Novak and Zorko present multilevel divisions that are visible in a form of imagined boundaries. Although Vukovar is an ethnically divided city, the authors presume that those boundaries are hardly visualized. That is why Novak and Zorko used method of mental mapping on a random based sample of local population.
Keywords: geopolitical discourses, boundaries, mental mapping, divided cities, Vukovar, Croatia
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