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CrossFit Sarajevo: Positioning against dominant ethnonational narratives

Journal article
Authors Vedran Maslic
Published in Journal of Sport for Development
Volume 7
Issue 12
Pages 59-77
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Pages 59-77
Language en
Links https://jsfd.org/2019/05/20/crossfi...
Keywords Positioning Theory, conflict transformation, community development, social trust, CrossFit
Subject categories International Migration and Ethnic Relations, Research on Europe, Peace and conflict research, Peace and development research

Abstract

More than 20 years since its bloody war, Bosnia and Herzegovina continues to suffer under structurally imposed ethnic divisions. Sustained by the country’s leaders who rely on ethnocentric narratives fuelled by “memory politics,” they distort historical events for the benefit of their ethnic group. This paper relies on Positioning Theory to explore whether CrossFit Sarajevo, a grassroots initiative, created necessary conditions to challenge these ethnocentric narratives within the club. Relying on interviews with 13 of its members, the paper explores what impact positions, actions/acts, and storylines can have on the creation of a cohesive and respectful multiethnic community. According to its findings, this paper suggests that such organizations indeed have significant potential challenging divisive narratives. Embracing egalitarian and inclusive positions appears to have established a common code of conduct within the club’s members, contributing to the creation of a distinct sense of belonging and social trust. These have manifested in humanitarian projects undertaken by the club that seek to help some of the most disadvantaged in the broader community. Ultimately, this project highlights the important role grassroots organizations can play in postviolence settings and suggests further exploration into the influence and permeability of such initiatives in the broader society.

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