This article investigates problems and pitfalls involved in the EU’s peacebuilding activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It claims that by romanticizing civil society and selectively reinforcing existing power structures, the European Union has failed to give society a stake in the peace that is being created in that country. Against this background, the article goes on to argue that local responses and forms of resistance have begun to emerge in Bosnia and Herzegovina, challenging the EU’s peacebuilding mission to move towards a more contextualised engagement with local society. Rather than focusing exclusively on the EU’s formal institutional mechanisms, a more contextualised approach would seek to include a wide variety of local agencies and create a space in which Bosnian society might develop alternative versions of peace that relate to people’s everyday lives. The main challenge for the EU, the article concludes, is to take the diversity of Bosnia’s local voices seriously in efforts to promote a hybrid, sustainable peace.
By Stefanie Kappler and Oliver Richmond
Publisher: Sagepub (2011)
Available through Sage Journals