Good fences make good neighbours? A comparison of conflict regulation strategies in post-war Bosnia

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This article compares the effectiveness of the consociational and the integrative approach in fostering stability in postwar Bosnia. Whereas the ethnic groups in Lijphart's consociational model constitute the basic units on which the political structure is built, the political structure in Horowitz's integrative model transcends ethnic divisions. The Dayton Agreement that ended the war in Bosnia contains elements of both approaches, and the balance between them has been changing in the course of its implementation. Bosnia constitutes a very suitable case for a comparison of the effect on stability of the two approaches: elements of each approach can be isolated and their effects compared, and the interplay between the approaches and the effect of international involvement can also be analysed. An international dimension and the phase of (de)escalation of the conflict are variables missing from both approaches, but it is important to include them when analysing a postwar situation. Owing to the deep divisions in the population, the numerical balance between the groups and the maximalist objectives of the dominant parties, the consociational model has been more effective in fostering stability in Bosnia. Currently, a change to an integrative structure seems premature, but a mix of the approaches has been demonstrated to be able to foster moderation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-588
JournalJournal of Peace Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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