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Incident-driven Democracy at Europe’s Edge. The Case of Bosnia-Herzegovina

  • Yves Dejaeghere (a1) and Peter Vermeersch (a2)
Abstract

In recent years, several instances of social protest in Europe have transformed into new initiatives for citizens’ participation (e.g. citizens’ assemblies, deliberative forums, etc). Can such a transformation also take place in the more volatile political settings of a post-conflict democratizing state? We turn our attention to the plenums in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which were spontaneously organized citizens’ assemblies in the spring of 2014. We conclude that these plenums were a form of incident-driven democracy. In a country where the regular institutions of representative democracy continue to be widely mistrusted and civil society organizations, which normally have a mitigating role between citizens and state institutions in times of crisis, are weak, untrustworthy or absent, such incidental institutions have an important role to play. Their effect in the short term may be limited, but if new opportunities arise they may function as a useful memory for activists, a model for citizens’ participation outside elections, and therefore an instigator of further democratization.

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1.In the rest of the paper we use the name Bosnia as shorthand for the official name of the country, Bosna i Hercegovina (BiH).
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35.Workshop on Democratic Renewal at the Department of Political Science, University of Amsterdam, on 21 May 2014. For an interview with Nedimović see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmlnfwlIoGA.
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European Review
  • ISSN: 1062-7987
  • EISSN: 1474-0575
  • URL: /core/journals/european-review
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