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The geopolitical framing of localized struggles: NGOs in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sam Jeffrey


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The outbreak of war in Bosnia and Herzegovina was widely regarded by the international community as a 'humanitarian nightmare'. Imagining the conflict in these terms ensured that it was non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and aid agencies, rather than military forces, which intervened in the violence. In recent years, international agencies have been keen to reposition Bosnia as a country 'in transition' while advancing a series of initiatives aimed at democratizing Bosnian society. This article explores the repercussions of these geopolitical imaginaries and their associated policies on the practices of NGOs in the northern Bosnian town of Brčko. Drawing on the conceptual vocabulary of Pierre Bourdieu, it argues that NGOs have struggled to accumulate social and cultural capital, vital to ensuring donor funding and maintaining links with the local state. The author encourages reflection on the durability of international geopolitical scripts in shaping local outcomes in post-conflict scenarios. © Institute of Social Studies 2007.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jeffrey A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Development and Change

Year: 2007

Volume: 38

Issue: 2

Pages: 251-274

Print publication date: 01/03/2007

ISSN (print): 0012155X

ISSN (electronic): 1467-7660


DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-7660.2007.00411.x


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