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Contesting Europe: The politics of Bosnian integration into European structures

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sam Jeffrey



This paper explores what is meant by 'being European' in contemporary Bosnia. Over the past two decades, Western politicians have justified interventions in Bosnia through recourse to an Orientalist binary between a rational and progressive 'Europe', and an irrational and retrogressive 'Balkans'. Current efforts to incorporate Bosnia into European structures reproduce this imaginary, in this instance though replacing space with time, suggesting that Bosnia needs to move from a 'Balkan' past to a 'European' future. In this paper I explore the political effects of such imaginaries through two levels of analysis. In the first, I critically examine the ongoing implications of the geopolitical framing of Bosnia as Europe's 'Other'. In the second, I explore how nationalist politicians have deployed European rhetoric in order to stake claims to resources and establish respect. I conclude by arguing that a sovereignty paradox underpins both 'geopolitical' and 'nationalist' European rubrics in Bosnia: while idealising forms of solidarity based on broad social and cultural affiliations, such discourses simultaneously seek to promote the state as the primary territorialisation of political life. © 2008 Pion Ltd and its Licensors.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jeffrey A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environment and Planning D: Society and Space

Year: 2008

Volume: 26

Issue: 3

Pages: 428-443

Print publication date: 01/06/2008

ISSN (print): 0263-7758

ISSN (electronic): 1472-3433


DOI: 10.1068/dcos5


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