'Imagined suicide': self-sacrifice and the making of heroes in post-war Croatia


  • Michaela Schäuble University of Tübingen




Based on reflections during 12 months of fieldwork on gender-related recollections of war and violence in a central Dalmatian town in post-war Croatia, this paper explores how the traumatising experience of militant conflict (1991-1995) and subsequent affliction are dealt with on an individual level. Drawing on the example of a carnival episode in which one of my core interlocutors embodied a suicide bomber, I employ the concept of 'imagined suicide'. As a category of ironic commentary on global terrorism, yet an emblematic expression of discontent in a desolate post-war setting, 'imagined suicide' constitutes a concept in which violence is playfully performed as a politically creative force. My aim is to decipher the symbolism in which the dynamics of (imagined) violent action are embedded and to interpret its communicative messages in terms of intentional annotation of the actors' own reflections on their lives.

Author Biography

Michaela Schäuble, University of Tübingen

Michaela Schäuble studied social anthropology and comparative literature at Tübingen (Germany) and Yale (USA) Universities. In addition she has trained as a documentary filmmaker at the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology (Manchester University). At present she is working on her PhD dissertation, entitled 'Recollecting violence: gender, religion, and national identity in a central Dalmatian town'. Her particular interests include visual anthropology, gender and representation, social memory, as well as the Mediterranean and issues of globalisation. She can be contacted at michaela_schaeuble(AT)web.de.