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Peacebuilding in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Resistance or Emancipation?

Stefanie Kappler
University of St Andrews
Stefanie Kappler
University of St Andrews
Open Panel

Abstract

This paper investigates the problems and pitfalls of EU peacebuilding in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It claims that the EU has failed to give society a stake in the peace that is being created by romanticising civil society and selectively reinforcing power structures. Against this background, the paper goes on to argue that local responses and forms resistance emerge, challenging the EU’s peacebuilding mission to push it towards a more contextualised engagement with local society. This includes a variety of local agencies that create a space in which Bosnian society can develop alternative versions of peace that relate to people’s everyday lives instead of exclusively focusing on the EU’s formal institutional mechanisms. The main challenge for the EU is, as the paper concludes, to take those diverse local voices seriously in its promotion of a hybrid, sustainable peace.