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A Straitjacket Peave Agreement: A Study on Nation-Building and Identity in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Studies.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This master’s thesis is a result of research conducted during six weeks in Bosnia and

Herzegovina. The purpose of this study is to examine whether the contribution of the Dayton

peace agreement to process of nation building in Bosnia has become counter productive as it

contains elements of both nation-state and state-nation foundation. The study strives to

understand the question of identity and how people in Bosnia view themselves and Others,

and how they view the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina in combination with the Dayton peace


Qualitative methods such as semi-structured and focused interviews as well as participatory

and direct observations built the base for the data collection. The hermeneutic method is used

as an approach to comprehend and to handle the findings. As my personal background

contains pre-understandings of the chosen topic, I have chosen to use them throughout the

research instead of ignoring them as the objective of this study is not to come to a final

response of this topic, but instead to bring forward an alternative angle of the identified


The result of this study indicates that people in Bosnia and Herzegovina tend to identify in

terms of ethno-national identity groups primarily where religion and territory have a decisive

role in shaping identity, while a common Bosnian identity has fallen behind. It also reveals

that the Dayton peace agreement damages the idea of a common Bosnian identity and

questions the idea of Bosnia all together. This research suggests that a nation-state bottom-up

process in Bosnia is little perceptible, due to the lack of a common Bosnian identity. The

results from this study indicate that Bosnia does not fit the state-nation definition, nor the

nation-state definition for several reasons while both state-nation and nation-state building are

visible on regional levels. The Dayton peace agreement has initiated a very difficult political

situation with extremely complex state structures and limited possibilities for change. The

ethno-national division of three, and the constitutive tying of particular groups to specific

territories, has hampered both the societal and political situation in Bosnia.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 69 p.
Keyword [en]
Identity, nation-state, state-nation, Dayton peace agreement.
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-48655OAI: diva2:892685
Subject / course
Peace and development
Educational program
Peace and Development Work, Master Programme, 60 credits
Available from: 2016-01-12 Created: 2016-01-11 Last updated: 2016-01-12Bibliographically approved

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