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Young People at Europe's Margins: An Intimate Geopolitics of the Future

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Kadich, Dino 


This thesis examines how young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina imagine, contest, and enact different futures amidst the country’s political impasse, ongoing mass emigration, and growing global pessimism about the future. Writing against narratives about the region that understand its politics exclusively through the terms of the violent conflict waged in the 1990s, I argue that the emigration phenomenon is part of a profound geopolitical shift led by young people. This shift emerges as a response to the radical disjuncture between the promises they grew up with, of a country that would become ‘modern’, ‘European’, and ‘normal’, and the realities of social, political, and economic stagnation nearly three decades following the beginning of capitalist transition and the end of the war. In order to take account of the ways that young people are engaging the future today, I take a digital-first approach, weaving across different forms of digital media that my interlocutors use to make sense of their lives.

By taking the ordinary lives of young people as a starting point for understanding the making of geopolitics, this thesis develops an “intimate geopolitics of the future” to make sense of how the intimate sphere, replete with acts and moments that may appear small or not particularly meaningful through conventional geopolitical imaginaries are, in fact, constitutive in the making of geopolitics. Using both traditional qualitative methods, such as semi-structured interviews, as well as a participatory video art workshop, I show how young people wrestle with the difficult choices they must make as they attempt to make a life. Beyond the grand narrative of generational warfare, one that has a firm hold in describing ongoing tensions and resentments between today’s youth and their elders, these moves shift the focus to the intimate moments that shape the future, as a political terrain of the possible.





Jeffrey, Alexander


art, digital geographies, geopolitics, participatory research, video art, youth, Bosnia and Herzegovina


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge
Gates Cambridge Trust University of Cambridge, Department of Geography (Philip Lake II Fund, University Fieldwork Fund) The Beinecke Scholarship, a project of the Sperry Fund