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The Politics, Practice and Paradox of ‘Ethnic Security’ in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Bojicic-Dzelilovic, V 2015. The Politics, Practice and Paradox of ‘Ethnic Security’ in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Stability: International Journal of Security and Development 4(1):11

The international intervention in Bosnia-Herzegovina was intended to support conflict resolution by introducing territorial self-government and power sharing as the foundation for a governance framework that would provide for collective and individual security alignment over time. Instead, it has contributed to the ethnification of security whereby collective security in the form of an ‘ethnified state’ remains at the forefront of political discourse and practice. Social acceptance of this ethnified state as the guarantor of security—despite the fading reality of the ethnic threat in public perceptions of post-war insecurity—has been actively manufactured by the country’s ethnic elites using the very institutional means put in place by the international intervention. The result is an ‘ethnic security paradox’ in which the idea of individual safety—linked to the protection of ethnic identity in the form of an ethnified state—unsettles both collective and individual security alike.

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