Transnational celebrity activism in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Local responses to Angelina Jolie’s film In the Land of Blood and Honey

Zala Volcic, Karmen Erjavec

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4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article focuses on the local understandings, responses and interpretations of celebrity activist Angelina Jolie and the film she directed in 2011 about the war rapes in Bosnia and Herzegovina: In the land of Blood and Honey. We first provide a brief historical context of the production and promotion of the film. Next, we offer a theoretical approach to the phenomenon of celebrity activism. In the third part, we look at how Jolie’s film has been received and interpreted in the region itself, since Jolie’s stated goal was to ‘raise awareness about war rapes’. On the basis of in-depth interviews with Bosnian public intellectuals, we argue that the film’s story of war rapes and suffering did little to raise awareness about war rape victims generally and was interpreted primarily within two discursive frameworks: celebrity and ethno-nationalistic ones that tend to reinforce the status quo in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina and perpetuate misunderstandings about war crimes. Jolie’s activism, in other words, did not contribute to the reconciliation between different ethnicities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but has, on the contrary, further fostered polarization that continues to plague the region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-375
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Angelina Jolie
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • celebrity activism
  • cinema
  • war rapes

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