Branding Post-War Sarajevo: Journalism, memories, and dark tourism

Zala Volcic, Karmen Erjavec, Mallory Peak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

After the violent wars of the 1990s, Bosnia and Herzegovina is heavily promoting its tourism industry with the capital city of Sarajevo as the prime destination. Sarajevo became a city of death during 1992–1995, and its siege remains etched in local and global memories as a time of bombing, horrific shelling of locals, and brutal destruction of the city's cultural heritage. Today Sarajevo faces many dilemmas, including how to remember the 1990s trauma and how to represent the city to citizens and foreign visitors. Here we explore how Sarajevo journalists remember the city's recent violent conflict, and how war memory becomes commodified and branded for tourism. Furthermore, we analyse how prominent global media represent Sarajevo as a tourism destination after the war. On the basis of in-depth interviews with Sarajevo journalists, and an analysis of travel reviews in prominent international publications, we argue that Sarajevo is a place where branding and memories converge. Sarajevo is transformed into a tourist attraction where trauma of the past is being sold, while promising some authentic path towards understanding the violent past. Local journalists and global media alike frame the city as a “brand” while celebrating the inherent authenticity of post-war travel in order to promote and sell Sarajevo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)726-742
Number of pages17
JournalJournalism Studies
Volume15
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • branding
  • dark tourism
  • journalists
  • media
  • memory

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