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Peacebuilding in Practice

Local Experience in Two Bosnian Towns

by Adam Moore

Publication Year: 2013

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.

Published by: Cornell University Press

Cover, Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 1-5


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pp. v-vi

List of Maps

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

One accumulates many debts over nearly a decade of research. I am particularly grateful for the generous support of people I met during fieldwork in Bosnia. Asim Mujkić at the University of Sarajevo has been a great mentor and friend throughout the project. ...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xi-xiv

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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, ...

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1. The Study of Peacebuilding

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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 ...

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2. The Collapse of Yugoslavia and the Balkan Wars

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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 ...

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3. Institutions

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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, ...

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4. Wartime Legacies

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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 ...

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5. Sequencing

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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— ...

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6. Peacebuilding Practices and Institutions

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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. ...

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7. Patron-Clientelism in the Brčko District

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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. ...

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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. ...


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pp. 171-196


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pp. 197-214


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pp. 215-226

E-ISBN-13: 9780801469565
E-ISBN-10: 0801469562
Print-ISBN-13: 9780801451997
Print-ISBN-10: 080145199X

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: 1