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Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg March 20, 2018

The Politics of Simulation. Fake Repairs in a Serbian Industrial Town

Deana Jovanović
From the journal Südosteuropa


The author explores reparations of urban sites in Bor, a copper processing town in eastern Serbia. She looks at recent attempts at reparations carried out by an industrial company in the context of the town’s and the company’s ‘revival’. She explores ethnographically how the reparations were seen as deceptions, temporary, partial, fake, and superficial, but simultaneously praised as ‘at least something’. The author argues that this ambivalence, which consisted of simultaneous positive and negative dispositions towards the promise the repairs held, resulted in people’s involvement in the ‘politics of simulation’ of the town’s and the copper company’s ‘revival’. She also shows how through people’s hope for order, and through their hope of being moral state subjects, the state became an object of emotional investment.


Deana Jovanović is the Sociological Review Fellow for 2017-2018 at Keele University, and a Research Associate at the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory at the University of Belgrade.


The author thanks Stef Jansen, Madeleine Reeves, Ivan Rajković, Dragan Stojmenović, Jasminka Beba Jovanović, the participants of the Social Anthropology postgraduate seminar at the University of Manchester, the participants of the panel ‘Repairing the periphery’ at the 13th SIEF 2016 Congress in Göttingen, the editor of this volume, and the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments. The author received the RAI/Sutasoma Award provided by Radcliffe-Brown & Firth Trust Funds. The study was realized as part of the project no. 179049 financed by the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia.

Published Online: 2018-3-20
Published in Print: 2018-3-26

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston