The Qualities of Democracies in Post-Conflict Societies – Exploratory Research on the Western Balkans

January, 2013
Research Area: 

The proposed project aims at inquiring into the qualities of democracies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Macedonia. During the breakup of Yugoslavia all three countries experienced inter-ethnic violent conflict. Since then the countries have come a long way in their post-conflict reconstruction efforts, assisted by the international community, and the risk of further violence is generally considered to have decreased. While democratic survival seems secured, the improvement of democracy is confronted with considerable challenges, though. The societies in all three countries remain severely divided along ethnic lines, nurturing clientelistic politics and party mobilization on an ethnic basis. Intriguingly, divisions are further strengthened by unintended consequences of those institutions that we designed to prevent conflict. Instead of only accommodating ethnic plurality, several political institutions further entrench the salience of ethnicity and facilitate antagonistic politics.