Social Mobilization Beyond Ethnicity: Civic Activism and Grassroots Movements in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Social Mobilization Beyond Ethnicity

Civic Activism and Grassroots Movements in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1st Edition

By Chiara Milan


200 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780815387022
pub: 2019-12-19
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This book offers an in-depth investigation of the emergence and spread of social mobilizations that transcend ethnicity in societies violently divided along ethno-national lines. Using Bosnia Herzegovina as a case study, the book explores episodes of mobilization which have superseded ethno-nationalist cleavages.

Bosnia Herzegovina emerged from the 1992-95 war brutally impoverished and deeply ethnically divided, representing a critical and strategic case for the examination and understanding of the dynamics of mobilization in such divided societies. Despite difficult circumstances for civic-based collective action, social mobilizations in the country have grown in size, number and intensity in recent years. Marked by citizen demand for accountable governance, responsive urbanism, and access to basic human rights, these protests have been driven by economic, social and political problems which cut across religious and ethnic divides. Examining the variation in spatial and social scale of contention, the book investigates movements’ formation, their organisational structures and networking strategies and advances research on divided societies and social movements.

This volume will be of interest to scholars and researchers of South-eastern Europe as well as those examining political dissent, social movements and mobilization in divided societies as well as practitioners in civil society, grassroots groups and political activists.


"Based on deep historical knowledge and a rich ethnographic analysis of protests in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chiara Milan convincingly demonstrates that, in ethnically divided society, social movements mobilizing for social justice might help the (re)building of shared collective identities." – Donatella della Porta, Scuola Normale Superiore Firenze, Italy.

"During pessimistic thoughts on my country, I can see only divided society transcending into the three separated communities and no force to bridge the divide. During less depressing observations, I also see the potential for ethnicity to be marginalized. This dichotomy exists in Bosnia-Herzegovina, but a question remains who and what makes social mobilization beyond ethnicity possible? Chiara Milan’s book is an excellent starting point in the quest to find out." – Neven Andelic, Regent’s University London, UK.

"The book offers an important insight into how social movements mobilize in multinational societies, such as Bosnia and Herzegovina. Through multiple waves of protests, citizens have come together, disregarding the rigid national division that has characterized post-war politics. Chiara Milan carefully show when and how such a social movements became possible and what their limitations have been. It is an excellent study informed by careful research and a sympathetic, yet critical, analysis of inclusive social movements in a critical context such as Bosnia." - Florian Bieber, Professor of Southeast European History and Politics, University of Graz, Austria.

"Milan’s book fills a significant empirical and conceptual gap in the extant scholarship. It engages with a key theme in the contentious politics literature: how does a momentum for change build, what legacies are passed from action to action, activist to activist? In this case, the focus is the emergence of non-ethnicised social movement activism in post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina – a more fascinating and relevant case study is hard to imagine." - Adam Fagan, King’s College London, UK.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Researching Mobilization Beyond Ethnicity in Divided Societies. An Introduction

Chapter 2: Understanding Mobilization Beyond Ethnicity in Divided Societies

Chapter 3: Social Mobilization and Civic Activism In Bosnia And Herzegovina

Chapter 4: "The Park Is Ours" Mobilization

Chapter 5: The Baby Revolution

Chapter 6: The 2014 Social Uprising

Chapter 7: Conclusions

About the Author

Chiara Milan is Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow at the Centre for Southeast European Studies of the University of Graz, Austria. She holds a PhD in Political and Social Sciences from the European University Institute. Prior to joining the Centre for Southeast European Studies, she worked at the Scuola Normale Superiore (Italy) and the Robert Schuman Center for Advanced Studies. Her research interests include social movements and contentious politics, nationalism, ethnicity, citizenship and migration, with a specific focus on Southeastern Europe. On these topics, she has published articles in journals and chapters in edited volumes.?

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 / Political Freedom & Security / Civil Rights
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Nationalism