Recapitulating Yugoslavia: Culture, Politics, and State-Building in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Ever since the war in the former Yugoslavia came to an end, the international community has sought to establish new political and constitutional arrangements for Bosnia and Herzegovina that would bring the country together within a framework of democracy and the rule of law. Today, Bosnia and Herzegovina suffers, as it has throughout the postwar period, from a lack of consensus, community, legitimacy, organization, effectiveness, and stability in its political life. This deficiency is impeding its transition to liberal democracy. In many ways Bosnia and Herzegovina resembles a mini-Yugoslavia. "Ethnonationalism" dominates not just the country's constitution but also its governance and its culture. Because of this it cannot truly become a liberal democracy until its governance and its political institutions begin to function properly and in the interests of all its citizens. Because democracy is more than just a set of formal institutions, it is time that the international community paid greater attention to reforming both kinds of institutions — formal and informal — in Bosnia and Herzegovina as it continues to seek to create a true liberal democracy in that troubled country.