Ambivalent Peace: International Nation-Building, Group Identity and Reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Project Leader Roland Kostic, Ph. D.

Project Period

2002- 2007

Project Description

External nation-building measures play a prominent role in peace-processes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, East Timor, and Afghanistan. Yet, little attention has been dedicated to study of effects of external nation-building on the group attitudes and reconciliation after war.

This dissertation project bridges the gap between peace-building and reconciliation fields by studying the effect of external nation building on group attitudes, group insecurity and reconciliation in the aftermath of war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The major aim of my thesis is to address the following question: What are the effects of the international nation-building measures on inter-group reconciliation and why? Do external interventions in education, history, language politics, the international tribunal actions, or promotion of national symbols lead to reduction of ethnic insecurity and promote reconciliation? This project explores the issue by looking at the attitudes and perceptions of local population and local political elites in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

During June- July 2005, 2500 persons were interviewed in a survey of opinions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Additionally, 22 interviews with the leading domestic political representatives were conducted during September-December 2005. The project will be finished in September 2007.


“Nation-building” in Encyclopedia of Social Problems, eds. Vincent N. Parrillo, SAGE, forthcoming, spring 2008.

“Nation-building as an instrument of peace? Exploring local attitudes towards international nation-building building and reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina”, Civil Wars, forthcoming autumn 2007.

“International peacebuilding, democracy and popular participation in BiH” in Equal Representation- A Challenge for Democracy and Democracy Promotion, Utsikt mot utveckling no.28, Collegium for Development Studies, Uppsala University, forthcoming, spring 2007.

“Education Movements, Power and Identity in Bosnia and Herzegovina” in Swain A. eds., Education as Social Action: Knowledge, Identity and Power, UNRISD, Palgrave MacMillan, 2005

“Education, identity and social movements in Bosnia and Herzegovina” in Swain A. eds., Education, identity and social movements, McMillan Press, 2004.

“USA och EU: s balkanpolitik– assymetriska relationer med dystra framtidsperspektiv?”, (together with Dulic, Tomislav), Internationella Studier, The Swedish Institute of International Affairs, May 2004.

“Strategies of livelihood in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina: A study of the economic predicament of returning home”, Riksbanken Reconciliation project, Working Papers Series, Gothenburg University, February 2003

“State Union of Serbia and Montenegro- new frameworks in search of future solutions?” Serbia and Montenegro country analysis for Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Stockholm, September 2003

“Bosnia and Herzegovina conflict analysis”, report for Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Stockholm, December 2002

Main Financial Support

The project is funded through a collaboration of the Uppsala Programme for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the Department of Peace and Conflict Research.

Useful Links

The Hugo Valentin Centre