RPP #8

QUESTION: Why does identity preservation act as a representation of security in post-war Bosnia?

Research Statement: I am proposing to research institution reconstruction post-conflict because I want to find out what explains the rise in identity preservation discourse to help the reader understand how identity is politicized.

            The first source identified is the Constitution of Bosnia Herzegovina, article 4, section E, respectively. In Article 4(e), while emphasizing rights, seats itself in the normalization of ethnic divide and preservation that’s seen pervasively in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Article IV(e) specifically states that “A proposed decision… may be declared destructive of a vital interest of the Bosniac, Croat, or Serb people by a majority…[it] Shall require for approval… a majority of the Bosniac, Croat, & Serb delegates present.”[1] The specific mention of the different ethnic groups by name represents identity preservation as a form of safety and security. Furthermore, it represents the significance of ethnic minority groups still, countering a blanket statement of Article 2, and emphasizes that they are still a significant force today.

Furthermore, the representation of safety is emphasized through the 2013 census data, as the people of Bosnia still vote along ethnic lines – for political parties that preach rights for their group.[2] Further, newspaper reports about segregation in schools, school textbooks & language curricula, as well as Bosnian historical recounts, collectively represent national identity as a means of safety, through stories of myth and reality and how preserved national identity is long after disillusionment. [3]

Ethnic preservation is even more significant when it comes to the statute of the political parties. Though the only party site found was the Social Democratic Union, their statute, though not ethnic-based, still perpetuates representations that ethnicity still matters predominantly. Preservation is firstly emphasized by Article 4(18), which upholds the “preservation of cultural and social identity.” [4] Furthermore, 4(20) highlights the “protection of cultural and natural heritage.”[5] While both should be a right of all people, through the examination of the constitution & other texts, it implies the preservation of ethnic roots as a “vital interest”[6]  of the Bosnian people, thusly preserving the divide that is national identity.

The actors perpetuating these discourses are domestic and foreign actors who did intervene in dividing the country alongside making the constitution to ensure that conflict would not occur again.[7] Finally, because Bosnia is a republic, the people are actors as well.[8] As the public, they are ultimately electing leaders that elect the ideology.

With the ethnic discourse provided in the constitution, the statements in the statute mean more than merely preserving a monument or memorials. It takes the meaning of retained division among groups that must be perpetuated for the country to survive – at least according to those who wrote the constitution, statutes, and those who vote for them. Further, the texts connect to practices of anti-reconciliation reforms post-conflict, such as the separation of schools, the decentralization of the government, and the scattered population. All are emphasizing that ethnicity remains significant, to a point where it is politicized, as shown by the constitutional statements and party statute.

[1] “Article II: Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms [Paragraphs] 1-8,” Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1995 English text of Annex 4 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1995 (1995): 4.

[2] “Popis 2013 BiH,” accessed November 7, 2019, http://www.popis.gov.ba/popis2013/knjige.php?id=0.

[3] Ena Duranović, “Segregation in Education: Two Schools under One Roof,” Medium, last modified February 4, 2019, accessed July 9, 2019, https://medium.com/age-of-awareness/segregation-in-education-two-schools-under-one-roof-82b611adb626.

 Pilvi Torsti, “SEGREGATED EDUCATION AND TEXTS: A CHALLENGE TO PEACE IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA,” International Journal on World Peace 26, no. 2 (2009): 65–82.

Geografija : … Razred Gimnazije 2 […], 2. izd. (Min. Obraz., Nauke i Kult., 1996).

 F. Bieber, “Nationalist Mobilization and Stories of Serb Suffering: The Kosovo Myth from 600th Anniversary to the Present,” Rethinking History 6, no. 1 (2002): 95–110.

[4] “About SDP,” SDP BiH, n.d., accessed November 5, 2019, http://www.sdp.ba/about-sdp/.

[5] Ibid.

[6] “Article II.”

[7] “Bosnia and Herzegovina – Government and Society,” Encyclopedia Britannica, accessed November 7, 2019, https://www.britannica.com/place/Bosnia-and-Herzegovina.

David A. Dyker and Ivan Vejvoda, Yugoslavia and After: A Study in Fragmentation, Despair and Rebirth (Routledge, 2014).

[8] “Bosnia and Herzegovina – Government and Society.”

Research Progress Post #6: Quantitative Data Source

Three Part Proposition
I am proposing to research institution reconstruction in post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina because I want to find out the persistence of (or lack thereof) post-war reconciliation narratives in order to help my reader understand what role government institutions play in reconciliation between ethnic groups.

Research Question
What explains the variation in reconciliation narratives in post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina’s cantons?

Provide a brief description along with the full citation for the dataset(s) you are discussing
The article International Studies of Values in Politics by Philip Jacob & Henry Teune conducts a survey in communities across India, the United States, and the former Yugoslavia.

Regarding the former Yugoslavia, the article utilizes community activeness as the dependent variable and independent variables: change in values, which was operationalized as a “commitment to innovation in social policy and action propensity in public life”, economic norms operationalized as a  “commitment to… raising the standard of living and concern for economic equality”, as well as Process Interaction, Identification & Moral Values, which encompass the leader’s concern for truthfulness and honesty, both regarding themselves, and within their nation. [1]

The authors interviewed 1179 people within thirty communities, and specifically.[2] Jacob’s & Teune’s survey focused on the role of social values in relation to the behavior of the local political leader to further emphasize, that social development is in part, the job of a community leader. They hypothesize that the values leaders hold do make a difference and that the more selfless the community leaders are, the more likely their community is to push towards community development and activeness. [3]

Their methodology is a series of survey questions, towards both leaders and some community members, in order to better understand the communities’ baseline for social mobilization – involving both leader and community. However, the authors discovered that the local authorities do not have much power, and thusly, nothing really changes unless the central government changes itself. Most of the support for community action is sought from the “population generally”, while the majority of the responsibility for that action, however, lays in the hands of the “central government”.[4]

This article helps me utilize my dependent variable of reconciliation narratives through its results, as it shows a variance in the support of nationalism, but also in its emphasis on the role of community leaders in influencing their constituents. It helps me prove to my audience that the power of community leaders do indeed impact the power of the community, and thusly, helps me understand perhaps why there may be a variance in action, and thusly narrative,  now, because there is not just one being pushed by the central government, but many, many others.

Full Citation
Jacob, Philip, and Teune, Henry. International Studies of Values in Politics, 1966. Ann Arbor, MI:
Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research., 2006-01-12.


[1] Philip Jacob and Henry Tenue, “International Studies of Values in Politics,” Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research 1, no. 7006, ICPSR (1966): 1-4

[2] Ibid 1.

[3] Ibid 4.

[4] Ibid 128.