Concentration Camp Rituals: Narratives of Former Bosnian Detainees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In the German camps during the Second World War, the aim was to kill from a distance, and the camps were highly efficient in their operations. Previous studies have thus analyzed the industrialized killing and the victims' survival strategies. Researchers have emphasized the importance of narratives but they have not focused on narratives about camp rituals, or analyzed post-war interviews as a continued resistance and defense of one’s self. This article tries to fill this gap by analyzing stories told by former detainees in concentration camps in the Bosnian war during the 1990s. The article aims to describe a set of recounted interaction rituals as well as to identify how these rituals are dramatized in interviews. The retold stories of humiliation and power in the camps indicate that there
was little space for individuality and preservation of self. Nevertheless, the detainees seem to have been able to generate some room for resistance, and this seems to have granted them a sense of honor and self-esteem, not least after the war. Their narratives today represent a form of continued resistance.


  • Goran Basic
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


  • humiliated self, power ritual, de-ritualization, resistance, status ritual, stigma
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
JournalHumanity & Society
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

First published online: December 23, 2015.

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