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CrossFit Sarajevo: Positioning against dominant ethnonational narratives

CrossFit Sarajevo: Positioning against dominant ethnonational narratives

Publication type

Journal Articles


Journal of Sport for Development



This study takes an in-depth look at the social enterprise CrossFit Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the role of the organisation in bridging ethnic divides and promoting egalitarian values in a multi-ethnic, post-conflict community.

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 organisations 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 organisations can play in postviolence settings and suggests further exploration into the influence and permeability of such initiatives in the broader society.



Vedran Maslic


Wednesday, May 22, 2019 - 13:53