Interpellating the state

Activists seek political authority in postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina

by LARISA KURTOVIĆ

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No longer the sole purview of comedians, satire is increasingly used by activists as a tool of political intervention. During a protest campaign in postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina, activists used the satirical frame of a fake confession as a form of an “inverse interpellation” to provoke a response from the disinterested and dysfunctional postwar state authorities. This unusual series of events involved an unpopular prime minister, incriminating graffiti, and citizens who were hailing the police in an ironic key, showing how some forms of leftist political activism may be based on a desire to restore, rather than oppose, an overarching governing authority.