On not dating just anybody: The politics and poetics of flirting in a post-war city

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11 Scopus citations


This article is an ethnographic investigation of mixing and flirting among ethnically divided youth in the Bosnian and Herzegovinian city of Mostar. Building on more than 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork and my already published works, I focus on how young people at the famous Mostar Gymnasium and beyond engage in flirting across ethnic lines to negotiate and eventually reassert boundaries and coordinates of difference. The article describes numerous discursive and non-discursive moments of flirting while smoking in the school’s unisex bathrooms as well as on school trips. I focus on these instances of “weak power” to capture how youth come together and flirt, creating both palpable boundaries and points of convergence. These experiences simultaneously challenge and reinscribe the ethnicization of everyday life in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)881-906
Number of pages26
JournalAnthropological Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Ethnonationalism
  • Flirting
  • Mixing
  • Weak power
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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