Peacebuilding in Practice

Peacebuilding in Practice: Local Experience in Two Bosnian Towns

Adam Moore
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Cornell University Press
Pages: 240
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7591/j.ctt32b4xp
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  • Book Info
    Peacebuilding in Practice
    Book Description:

    In November 2007 Adam Moore was conducting fieldwork in Mostar when the southern Bosnian city was rocked by two days of violent clashes between Croat and Bosniak youth. It was not the city's only experience of ethnic conflict in recent years. Indeed, Mostar's problems are often cited as emblematic of the failure of international efforts to overcome deep divisions that continue to stymie the postwar peace process in Bosnia. Yet not all of Bosnia has been plagued by such troubles. Mostar remains mired in distrust and division, but the Brcko District in the northeast corner of the country has become a model of what Bosnia could be. Its multiethnic institutions operate well compared to other municipalities, and are broadly supported by those who live there; it also boasts the only fully integrated school system in the country. What accounts for the striking divergence in postwar peacebuilding in these two towns?

    Moore argues that a conjunction of four factors explains the contrast in outcomes in Mostar and Brcko: The design of political institutions, the sequencing of political and economic reforms, local and regional legacies from the war, and the practice and organization of international peacebuilding efforts in the two towns. Differences in the latter, in particular, have profoundly shaped relations between local political elites and international officials. Through a grounded analysis of localized peacebuilding dynamics in these two cities Moore generates a powerful argument concerning the need to rethink how peacebuilding is done-that is, a shift in the habitus or culture that governs international peacebuilding activities and priorities today.

    eISBN: 978-0-8014-6956-5
    Subjects: Political Science, History, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Maps
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    In November 2007 I was conducting fieldwork in the city of Mostar in the Herzegovina region of southeastern Bosnia when the town was rocked by two days of violent clashes between Croat and Bosniak youth.¹ It began on a Saturday night when up to two hundred youths brawled along the former wartime frontline in the center of the city, the Bulevar Narodne Revolucije (Boulevard of the National Revolution).² Three people were hospitalized—one with a severe knife wound to the neck—and a dozen arrested.

    The following day was the Derby, the annual game between Zrinjski and Velež, the Croat-...

  7. 1 The Study of Peacebuilding
    (pp. 17-32)

    Over the past twenty years the study of peacebuilding has exploded, fueled in part by a surge in multilateral peacebuilding missions around the world. While much progress has been made in understanding peacebuilding processes there is “still no reliable formula for transforming a fragile ceasefire into a stable and lasting peace.”¹ If anything, in fact, there is a greater appreciation for just how little we still know about the transition from war to peace. This analysis of localized peacebuilding in Brčko and Mostar does not purport to offer a general template for achieving stable and lasting peace, but it does...

  8. 2 The Collapse of Yugoslavia and the Balkan Wars
    (pp. 33-56)

    Spring 2012 marked the twentieth anniversary of the beginning of the war in Bosnia, which was the longest and bloodiest conflict in Europe since World War II. In total nearly 100,000 people were killed during the conflict, almost half of them civilians, and more than 2 million were driven from their homes.¹ The war also introduced to the world the phrase “ethnic cleansing” to describe the murderous campaigns to carve out ethnically homogenous territories from Bosnia’s formerly mixed spaces. The most notorious instance of this was the slaughter of eight thousand Bosniak men and boys by the Bosnian Serb army...

  9. 3 Institutions
    (pp. 57-80)

    As noted in the previous chapter, Bosnia’s ethno-territorial consociational compact is the product of contentious negotiations between the three warring parties that culminated in the DPA in 1995. Mostar is the embodiment of this model, as there alone has it been comprehensively extended down to the level of a single city, the scale at which everyday interaction takes place and is mediated by political institutions. Conversely, in many ways Brčko is the antithesis of the ethno-territorial approach adopted in Bosnia. As I outline below Mostar’s institutional framework has not contributed to peace in the postwar period. Instead, is has hardened...

  10. 4 Wartime Legacies
    (pp. 81-101)

    As William Faulkner once observed, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” This is an especially appropriate aphorism for Bosnia as past events continue to profoundly shape political and social relations in the postwar period. In chapter 1 I noted that one of the most important, yet least understood, aspects of peacebuilding is the influence of wartime social and political processes. That events which took place during the war continue to matter in its aftermath is clear. But precisely when and how these legacies shape peacebuilding in the postwar period remains something of a black box. In part...

  11. 5 Sequencing
    (pp. 102-115)

    As the reader may have noticed, there is a significant difference in the timeline of international intervention in Mostar and Brčko. As part of the terms of the Washington Agreement it was decided that Mostar would be temporarily administered by the EUAM, which formally commenced operations in the city in July 1994—even as fighting continued elsewhere in the country—until December 1996, when it turned over political oversight to OHR. Conversely the OHR supervisory regime in Brčko was not established until April 1997, over a year after the war ended. Prior to this, the most significant international presence in...

  12. 6 Peacebuilding Practices and Institutions
    (pp. 116-134)

    At this point the finding that rapid economic and political liberalization had negative effects in Mostar is not terribly surprising. There are many examples of similarly detrimental outcomes to such policies in the peacebuilding literature. Perhaps a more interesting and important question concerning sequencing is why the lengthy and intensive institution-building approach undertaken in Brčko did not suffer from a lack of legitimacy and support from the local populace? As noted in chapter 1, critics of the institutionalization before liberalization model warn that peacebuilding interventions often come to be perceived as authoritarian and undemocratic, perceptions that in turn undermine the...

  13. 7 Patron-Clientelism in the Brčko District
    (pp. 135-158)

    In the previous chapter I highlighted the embeddedness of international officials and participation in peacebuilding reforms by local officials as two factors that are crucial for understanding peacebuilding progress that has been achieved in Brčko to date. To a certain degree, though, this explanation begs the question of just how embeddedness and productive local-international relations was achieved to such a degree in the District. In this chapter I describe one of the key factors promoting these two dynamics: the emergence of a close and enduring patron-client relationship between OHR Brčko and local elites following the establishment of the District in...

  14. Conclusion
    (pp. 159-170)

    Rather than rehearsing the reasons for the divergence in peacebuilding processes in Brčko and Mostar since the end of the war, I want to use the conclusion to address two broader issues raised by this research. The first concerns the promises and limitations of subnational, or local, peacebuilding projects. I anticipate that the reader may wonder just how significant the outcomes in these two towns have been for the overall peacebuilding effort in Bosnia. Why, for instance, has progress in Brčko not had a positive effect on other regions or municipalities; conversely, how much does failure in Mostar matter in...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 171-196)
  16. References
    (pp. 197-214)
  17. Index
    (pp. 215-226)