Multinational Federalism in Bosnia and Herzegovina: 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Multinational Federalism in Bosnia and Herzegovina

1st Edition

By Soeren Keil


232 pages

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In 1995 none of the political parties representing the peoples of Bosnia preferred a federal option. Yet, Bosnia became a federal state, highly decentralised and with a complex institutional architecture. This solution was imposed on them by international actors as a result of peace negotiations following the Yugoslav wars. Political parties in post-war Bosnia were not willing to identify with or accept the federation. The international community intervened taking over key decisions and so Bosnia and Herzegovina became the first state to experience a new model of federalism, namely ’imposed federalism’ and a new model of a federal state, that of the ’internationally administered federation’. By combining comparative politics, conflict analysis and international relations theory Soeren Keil offers a unique analysis of federalism in post-Dayton Bosnia and Herzegovina. By exploring this model of ’imposed federalism’ not only does this study greatly contribute to the literature on developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina it also re-evaluates comparative federalism in theory and practice. This study also offers important conclusions for similar cases, both in the Western Balkans region and the wider world, where international involvement and federalism as a method of conflict resolution in diverse societies becomes ever more prevalent and important.


’Soeren Keil offers a theoretically well-grounded and empirically detailed analysis of the mal/functioning of the political process in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Required reading for anyone interested in understanding that country and the political challenges of diversity in divided societies more generally.’ Stefan Wolff, University of Birmingham, UK ’In countries without consensus on the state, the international community has incubated forms of federalism for immediate conflict management needs that have serious sustainability questions. Soeren Keil offers a penetrating analysis of this practice in Bosnia-Herzegovina and an argument that "imposed federalism" is a new institutional form of our time. Those interested not only in Bosnia but in Iraq and Afghanistan should read this book.’ Gerard Toal, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA '… it is quite a challenge to write an innovative study on Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). And yet, with Multinational Federalism in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Soeren Keil manages to bring new insights and to fill an important gap in the literature on post-war BiH … This volume brings a very welcome contribution to the academic debate on the political system of BiH by analyzing it from a new perspective. … Overall, this volume is definitely an excellent read, both for those who have already extensive knowledge on BiH as well as for scholars and students interested in federalism, in particular in post-conflict and deeply divided societies. The first will have the opportunity to analyse BiH from a perspective they will find innovative and the latter will certainly find some food for thought on whether imposing federalism on post-conflict societies should be an option at all.' Swiss Political Science Review 'The author offers a very convincing analysis on how federalism was imposed by international actors on the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina …' Publius: The Journal of Federalism 'With its profound analysi

About the Author

Soeren Keil received a Ph.D. in International Relations from the University of Kent in Canterbury and is Lecturer in International Relations at Canterbury Christ Church University. His main research focuses on institutional design in post-conflict societies with a particular focus on the Western Balkans, particularly Bosnia and Herzegovina. He is especially interested in power-sharing models in divided societies, as well as forms of territorial and non-territorial autonomy for minority nations.

About the Series

Southeast European Studies

Southeast European Studies

The Balkans are a region of Europe widely associated over the past decades with violence and war. Beyond this violence, the region has experienced rapid change in recent times though, including democratization, economic and social transformation. New scholarship is emerging which seeks to move away from the focus on violence alone to an understanding of the region in a broader context drawing on new empirical research.

The Southeast European Studies Series seeks to provide a forum for this new scholarship. Publishing cutting-edge, original research and contributing to a more profound understanding of Southeastern Europe while focusing on contemporary perspectives the series aims to explain the past and seeks to examine how it shapes the present. Focusing on original empirical research and innovative theoretical perspectives on the region the series includes original monographs and edited collections. It is interdisciplinary in scope, publishing high-level research in political science, history, anthropology, sociology, law and economics and accessible to readers interested in Southeast Europe and beyond.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / Comparative
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Nationalism