Bridging ethnic divisions through building social capital: structural challenges and future perspectives for Bosnia and Herzegovina
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The recent history of Bosnia and Herzegovina has had little positive notes. So far the results of the very ambiguous state building project of both USA and the EU have been mixed at best. This thesis highlights an excessive focus of international community on high politics and the accommodation of ethnic political entrepreneurs. Rather than focusing on political elites, local and international policies should look for ways to generate social capital through inter-ethnic collaboration. This thesis will discuss the concepts of social capital and argue that a long term investment into social capital is the best path to create a sustainable peace and democratic Bosnia- Herzegovina. More specifically, the thesis individuates the education sector as an agency of construction of differences by self-interested political elites. It critically discusses the separation of the education system and warns about negative effects on future generations. The thesis concludes with a note of hope. Even in deeply divided societies the “pockets” for inter-ethnic collaboration can be exploited if the end goal is to create positive peace. A small scale empirical research conducted by the author about the unification of student councils from both entities shows how young people can break the vicious circle of ethnic exclusion by working on common interests across across the ethnic divide.