Canadian Committee on Migration, Ethnicity and Transnationalism Article Prize
Jelena Golubovic, “Beyond Agency as Good: Complicity and Displacement after the Siege of Sarajevo.” Journal of Refugee Studies (2021): 1-20.
Jelena Golubovic’s article compels the reader to reconsider forced migrants’ agency to include those who are displaced as a result of their ethnocultural group’s complicity in acts of violence. Existing scholarship has largely focused on the construction of an ‘ideal refugee/victim’ and the links between refugee agency and victimhood. In conducting oral history interviews, Golubovic examines the displacement of Bosnian Serb women, following the Siege of Sarajevo in 1996, to help broaden our understanding of forced migrant agency by including guilt and (perceived) complicity in acts of violence perpetrated as by members of the same ethnocultural group. The author effectively uses interviews with displaced people to demonstrate how they negotiate their legibility as victims and to problematize the tendency to prioritize the positive articulations of “agency as good” in the context of conflict and refugee studies. Golubovic’s work promises to make a significant impact on the way migration scholars contextualize discussions of ‘refugeeness’.