Current Institutional Affiliation
Professor, Anthropology, Syracuse University

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No Man’s Land: Youth Negotiating Democratization in Post-conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina

The book is an ethnographic investigation of the internationally directed post-conflict intervention policies in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) and the response of local people, especially youth, to these policy efforts. The policies and processes of peace-building and democratization in B&H were instituted on December 14, 1995 by the Dayton Peace Agreement, which brought the end to the Bosnian war. While claiming its objectives to be reconciliation, democracy, and ethnic pluralism, the Agreement inscribed in law the ethnic partition among Bosnian Serbs, Croats, and Muslims. The externally regulated policies of democratization and reconciliation have granted rights to people based on their identification as “ethnic collectivities,” reinforcing the social divisions at the heart of the conflict. This powerful paradox enshrined in the democratization policy has been central to what has transpired over the past 15 years. Drawing on 18 months of ethnographic research at the first integrated school in B&H, the Mostar Gymnasium, this book documents how the ethnic emphasis of the international integration policies and programs is working in practice to undermine the possibility for the emergence of common, cross-ethnic association among youth in B&H. Instead, so-called democratization has perpetuated what I call the local civic stance of anticitizenship and consequently the materialization of an “empty nation” in B&H.