Democracy by Decree: Prospects and Limits of Imposed Consociational Democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Democracy by Decree: Prospects and Limits of Imposed Consociational Democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Thursday, 26 November 2015 - 5:00pm
Venue: 
Seminar Room, European Studies Centre, 70 Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HR
Speaker(s): 
Adis Merdzanovic (St Antony’s College, Oxford)
Chair: 
David Madden (St Antony's College, Oxford)
Convenor: 
Othon Anastasakis (St Antony's College, Oxford)
Series: 
SEESOX

BOOK LAUNCH
The introduction of consociational power sharing as a post-war political system has become one of the international community's preferred post-conflict devices. In situations where warring polities are internally divided by ethnic, religious, linguistic, or national identity, consociationalism guarantees the inclusion of all groups in the political process and prevents a 'tyranny’ of the majority over one or more minorities. However, if international actors keep intervening in the political process, the advantages of consociationalism are turned upside down. In his book, Adis Merdzanovic (St Antony’s College, Oxford) develops a theoretical and empirical approach to understanding consociational democracies that include external intervention. Using the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the consociational Dayton Peace Agreement ended the three-and-a-half year war between Serbs, Croats, and Bosniaks twenty years ago, it elaborates on the different approaches used in the past and gives practical recommendations for future state-building exercises by the international community. 

Dr Adis Merdzanovic is a Junior Research Fellow at St Antony’s College, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation’s Early Post-Doc Mobility Programme. Before coming to Oxford, he was a Swiss Scholars at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. In 2014, Dr Merdzanovic successfully defended his PhD thesis in political science dedicated to international engagement in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, where he was also co-teaching a course on the European Union’s accession and neighbourhood policy. His research focuses on constitutional and political order in divided post-conflict societies using the perspective of political theory. At St Antony’s he is working on a project dealing with the state of political liberalism in the Western Balkans (concretely in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Croatia) and the region’s prospects for European Union accession.