Multi-Ethnic Parties in Bosnia-Herzegovina: Naša Stranka and the Paradoxes of Postethnic Politics
By Heleen Touquet
Volume 11, Issue 3, pages 451-467
To what extent is political mobilisation across ethnic boundaries possible in states with highly ethnicised state structures? This article explores the opportunities and obstacles that activists in Bosnia-Herzegovina meet when they seek to develop integrative discourses as a basis for political action. The first part of the article focuses on the role of multi-ethnic parties in deeply divided societies. The second part develops alternative ideas on the obstacles facing multi-ethnic parties in Bosnia, focusing on the case of Naša Stranka, a political party that was established by civil society actors. There are two conclusions to be drawn. First, despite the centrifugal nationalisms that seem to dominate the top political level, there are civil society actors in Bosnia who engage in integrative political mobilisation. Second, these actors face difficulties that go beyond the often-cited problem of the tendency of the constitutional state structure to reify ethnic identities.
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