Critical Narrating by Adolescents Growing Up in War: Case Study Across the Former Yugoslavia

  • Colette Daiute
Part of the Advancing Responsible Adolescent Development book series (ARAD)


These narratives, by adolescents living in the aftermath of the 1990 s wars that fractured the former Yugoslavia, express adolescents’ focus on issues in their now diverse societies. The generation of 12-21-year olds who were babies or young children during acute phases of war is growing up with its consequences. The material and symbolic remnants of war across each context become embedded in adolescents’ narratives of their everyday lives and, thus, their development toward adulthood. In his narrative, for example, Rudy in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) focuses on tensions among adults in public life, tensions also noticed by his peers who explain that these tensions result from “problems from the past” and serve as “stress releases.” Characteristic of her ex-Yugoslavian country of Serbia, I.S., in contrast, focuses on divisions in her society, in this case between the “last century’s mentality” and the implied new one which allows for argumentation. Feniks, like most of his Croatian peers, uses this observation of conflict among adults to mention future possibility, while Krusko, a refugee of mass destruction in Bosnia, turns nostalgically to the past and her family’s ongoing difficulties. In this chapter, I present a case study with these and other adolescents positioned differently around a war to explain how they use narrating to mediate development of individuals in society.


European Union Resolution Strategy Balkan Country Constitutional Reform Physical Issue 
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The author thanks the numerous organizations and individuals involved at various stages of this project, especially Group Most, Suncokret, Prism Research, RACCOON, Dragan Popadic, Luka Lucic, Maja Turniski, Dino Djepa, Lejla Kadiz, Vicky Barrios, Nikolina Knezevic, Dean Valutec, and the gracious young people who shared their experience and wisdom in research workshops. Funding from the National Council of Teachers of English, the United States Institute of Peace, and the Graduate Center, City University of New York made the research reported on in this article possible. Gratitude also to the Harriman Institute at Columbia University School of International Affairs, the Center for Place Culture and Politics, and the Center for the Humanities at the Graduate Center for providing interdisciplinary forums that enriched this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Graduate CenterCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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