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Political Subjectivities and Local Nationalisms in Postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina

 

By Azra Hromadzic  

One of the most commonly heard “complaints” about postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), made by policy-makers and academics alike, is that “ordinary Bosnians” vote for nationalists and, in that way, allow them to stay in power. While it is true that the nationalist parties have been dominating the political scene in postwar BiH, these facts and statistical data are used to make two very important and problematic claims: The first argument is that since Bosnians and Herzegovinians massively support the nationalist parties that started the war, this must mean that the majority of Bosnians and Herzegovinians are themselves nationalists (for an insightful critique of this position see Kurtović 2011). The second assertion is that any broader, cross-ethnic political and social articulations of common Bosnianhood are apolitical, nostalgic, invented and over-romanticized visions of Bosnianhood and/or are reflections of “impaired insights” on the side of “subjective” academics (see Hayden 2007).  These two claims problematically accept statistical data as “true” reflections of political and social beliefs. Furthermore, these positions rest on a primordial, essentilizing and totalizing view of Bosnian and Herzegovinian “ethnic groups rooted in ethnic territories” (for a powerful critique of this rigid vision of multiculturalism, see Campbell 1999; Chandler 1999, and Gagnon n.d.). (more…)

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On Budget Battles and the US Institute of Peace

March 2, 2011

By Bruce W. Dayton

These are tough times for discretionary spending programs in the US government.  Among those looking at the axe is the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) which faces the prospect of closure thanks to a successful US House of Representatives amendment to the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2011. That amendment seeks to eliminate all funding for the US Institute of Peace for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year.

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This blog offers thoughts about conflict and collaboration from noted thinkers, scholars and practitioners. (more…)

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