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Title: Escaping ethnopolis: postethnic mobilization in Bosnia-Herzegovina
Authors: Touquet, Heleen
Issue Date: 26-Jan-2012
Abstract: This thesis investigates how and to what extent it is possible to mobilize citizens across ethnic boundaries in a deeply divided society. It focuses on one case in point, that of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The thesis first develops the analytical concept of postethnic mobilization as an alternative to similar but less precise terms such as multicultural, civic mobilization or anti-nationalist mobilization. Bosnia-Herzegovina is a crucial case with regard to postethnic mobilization, as it is a post-conflict society where deep divisions remain and where local politicians often mobilize national and religious allegations. Moreover, it is a consociationalist democracy, where ethnic divisions have been institutionalized at all levels of governance. The analysis, based on more than fifty qualitative interviews with activists, knowledgeable observers and analysts, takes a two-pronged approach. One the one hand it scrutinizes postethnic mobilization from the perspective of activists’ framings: which symbols and references do they use to mobilize and how do they relate to the cultural environment. On the other hand, it investigates these types of mobilizations from the perspective of political opportunity structure, “consistent—but not necessarily formal or permanent—dimensions of the political struggle that encourage people to engage in contentious politics” (Tarrow, 2002). In addition, two cases of postethnic mobilization are analyzed in-depth: the case of the Sarajevo protests in 2008, and the case of Nasa Stranka, a new postethnic and multi-ethnic party. The thesis concludes that postethnic mobilization has more chances to develop in places where ethnic elites are less dominant, support groups such as labour organizations and religious organizations are not politicized and/or tied to nationalist parties and where the media are not ethnically divided. Rich social networks and absence of repression will further enhance the possibilities for postethnic mobilization, but they affect civil society in general and not postethnic mobilization specifically.-Secondly, resistance to postethnic mobilization will be lower in a state that is not a nationalizing state, i.e. a state that is an un-realized nation state and that strives to be one by promoting language, culture, demographic, disposition and political hegemony of the state-bearing nation.-Thirdly the emergence of postethnic mobilization in cities is influenced by three mutually constitutive factors:*The collective multi-ethnic identity of the city, i.e. a widespread attitude of tolerance among all the ethnic groups that is shared by the city’s inhabitants, and which is promoted by the citizens and by its institutions and which is based in local history*The presence of a critical mass of people sharing that collective identity, enabling mobilization on a larger scale*The importance of the city for (multi-)ethnic elites. The absence of powerful ethnic elites who regard the city as an example for their national-based policies willstimulate postethnic mobilization, as will the presence of a multi-ethnic elite
Table of Contents: Table of contents
List of Tables i
List of Figures ii
List of Figures ii
List of Abbreviations iii
Acknowledgements v
Introduction 1
CHAPTER 1: THE CRUCIAL CASE OF BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA 5
1. Introduction 5
2. Exploring the Bosnian case 7
2.1. Bosnia as a multi-ethnic republic of socialist Yugoslavia 7
2.2. First multi-party elections and war 11
2.3. Post-Dayton Bosnia: cementing ethnic divisions 13
2.3.1. A consociationalist system 13
2.3.2. The power of the OHR 16
2.4. Political crisis in BiH: 2006-2010 18
3. Research questions 23
4. Bosnia: a crucial case 24
5. Literature review and originality 26
CHAPTER 2: SEARCHING FOR POSTETHNICITY AND POSTETHNIC MOBILIZATION 29
1. Introduction 29
2. The concept of postethnicity 29
3. Situating postethnicity in existing theory 34
3.1. Primordialist versus circumstantialist approaches to ethnicity 34
a. Primordialism 34
b. Circumstantialism/Instrumentalism 35
3.2. Dynamics of identification and categorization: the cognitive approach 37
4. Ethnicity, power and conflict over norms: how postethnic identification may develop in a divided society 38
5. What do we look for when we look for postethnic mobilization? 40
5. 1. Positive deviance and free havens 41
5.2. Postethnicity and forms of ‘everyday resistance’ 42
6. Postethnic identity, mobilization and change 43
7. Categorization vs. identification in Bosnia-Herzegovina 46
8. Conclusion 48
CHAPTER 3: CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK AND METHODOLOGY 49
1. Introduction 49
2. Why use social movement theory? 49
3. Political opportunity structure 51
3.1. Background 51
3.2. Political opportunity structure 52
3.3. POS in non-democracies 55
3.4. Criticism of POS 57
4. Framing processes 61
4.1. Background 61
4.2. Basics of framing theory 62
4.3. Frames and collective identities 63
4.4 Frames and resonance 64
4.5. Framing and political opportunity 66
5. Hypotheses 66
6. Structure of the analysis 67
7. Methodology 67
7.1 The generic inductive qualitative model 67
7.2. Interviews 69
7.3. Criteria for selection of the organizations 71
7.4. Obstacles encountered during the research process 74
8. Conclusion 74
CHAPTER 4: THE COLLECTIVE IDENTITY OF POSTETHNICITY: INTERNAL VARIATION 75
1. Introduction 75
2. Normative identity 76
2.1. Anti-nationalism 76
2.2. Independent and apolitical 77
2.3. Non-violence 79
2.4. Religion is a private matter 80
3. Relational content 81
3.1. Citizens 81
3.2. Apolitical/moral 83
4. Purposive content 84
4.1. A return to normality 84
4.2. Revolution 85
4.3. Postethnic identity and forms of action 86
5. Cognitive content 88
5.1. The current situation 89
5.2. The past 90
6. Conclusion 91
CHAPTER 5: POLITICAL OPPORTUNITY STRUCTURE AND POSTETHNIC MOBILIZATION IN BOSNIA 93
1. Introduction 93
2. Analysis 94
2.1. Provisions for participation 94
2.2. Repression 100
2.3. The role of elites 102
2.4. Support groups and parties 103
2.4.1. Support from labour unions and religious organisations 103
2.4.2. Political parties as support groups 105
2.4.3. International organizations 109
2.5. Access to media 111
2.5.1. Overview of Bosnian media 111
2.5.2. Less media freedom, more dependence since 2006 112
2.6. Social networks in BiH 115
3. Conclusions 117
CHAPTER 6: MOBILIZATIONS, CITIES AND THE CULTURAL ENVIRONMENT 121
1. Introduction 121
2. Note on the selection of cities 123
3. Analysis 123
2.1 Sarajevo: Dynamic centre 123
2.1.1. Cultural environment 123
2.1.2 Activist groups 127
2.1.3. Supportive organizations part of the network 133
2.1.4. Conclusion 134
2.2 Banja Luka: low profile 135
2.2.1. Cultural environment 135
2.2.2. Activist groups 136
2.2.3. Supportive organizations 141
2.2.4. Conclusion 141
2.3. Tuzla: Centre of postethnic activism 142
2.3.1. Cultural environment 142
2.3.2. Groups 143
2.3.3. Supportive organizations 146
2.3.4. Conclusion 147
2.4. Mostar: minor groups try to overcome extreme divisions 148
2.4.1. Cultural environment 148
2.4.2. Organizations 151
2.4.3. Supportive organizations 153
2.4.4. Conclusion 153
2.5 Other cities and villages 153
2.5.1. Tac.ka, Prijedor 153
2.5.2. Odisej, Bratunac 155
2.5.3. Conclusion 156
3. Analysis: cultural environments, cities and postethnic mobilization: which factors matter? 156
3.1. Types of protest 156
3.2. Explanations for the emergence of postethnic protest in relation to the cultural environment of cities 159
4. Conclusion 163
Logo’s and actions 164
CHAPTER SEVEN: CASE STUDY: THE SARAJEVO PROTESTS AS AN EXAMPLE OF SUCCESSFUL POSTETHNIC MOBILIZATION IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA? 171
1. Introduction 171
2. What happened? Notes on the protests and the events that sparked them 171
3. Theoretical tools: frames, boundedness and resonance 174
4. Identity frames and ties to local cultural environment 176
4.1. The gradjanin-frame 176
4.2. Citizens of Sarajevo 179
4.3. The apolitical frame 182
4.4. The autonomy frame 184
5. Counterframes and attempts at demobilization 185
5.1. Who are the (real) gradjani? 185
5.2. Foreign interference 187
5. 3. Political manipulation 188
6. The problem of leadership 189
7. Evaluation 190
8. Conclusion 192
Pictures of the Sarajevo protests 193
CHAPTER 8: MULTI-ETHNIC PARTIES IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA: NAŠA STRANKA AND THE PARADOXES OF POSTETHNIC POLITICS 197
1. Introduction 197
2. Origins of Naša Stranka 198
3. Structure: Institutional design and party political landscape 201
3.1. Two ideal-types of power-sharing 201
3.2. Integrative measures to stimulate aggregative parties 203
4. The Bosnian political environment 207
4.1. Main characteristics of Bosnia’s political landscape 208
4.2 Transcendence of the ethnic 209
5. The case of Naša Stranka 213
5.1. Bridging the RS-Federation divide 213
5.2. The paradoxes of postethnic mobilization 215
5.2.1. NS’s definition of what it means to be a multi-ethnic party 215
5.2.2. The national question: ethnic justice 216
5.3. The ‘politika’ paradox 218
6. Conclusion 221
Naša Stranka 2010 campaign posters and flyers 223
CONCLUSION 227
REFERENCES 233
LIST OF INTERVIEWS 254
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: TH
Appears in Collections:Leuven International and European Studies (LINES)

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