De-Centering State Making
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De-Centering State Making

Comparative and International Perspectives

Edited by Jens Bartelson, Martin Hall and Jan Teorell

Bridging the gap between international relations and comparative politics, this book transposes Eurocentric theories and narratives of state-making to new historical and geographical contexts in order to probe their scope conditions. In doing this, the authors question received explanations of the historical origins and geographical limits of state-making, questioning the unilinear view of the emergence of the modern state and the international system. Theoretically and methodologically eclectic, the volume explores a range of empirical cases not often discussed in the literature.
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Chapter 7: Imagined states and clashing statebuilding processes in the Bosnian space

Annika Björkdahl


The state-building processes of the Western Balkans reveal that the construction of the state is often a contested and fluid process. Zooming in on the post-war space of Bosnia Herzegovina (BiH) we can study three clashing state-building projects and the interplay between war making, peace making and state making. By focusing on the ‘becoming’ of a state the continuities of state building are revealed. Conceptually, this chapter explores how states are socially constructed spaces, imagined and performed by those who perceive themselves as belonging to that state. Empirically, it investigates the state-building processes of Republika Srpska (RS) and Herceg-Bosna undertaken in parallel with the state building of BiH. It taps into the debate on the immaterial and material dimensions of state building and asks, through what imaginaries and performative practices does a state come into being? This sharpens our eyes to the imaginary quality of every state.

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