The PhD Dissertation is centred on a critical reading of Europeanization applied in the context of post-conflict societies. Europeanization is often uncritically considered as one of the most important transformational potentials that could relativize (ethnic) nationalisms at “the expense” of building a modern liberal, civic political culture. To the contrary, the PhD thesis poses a provocative research question: Can Europeanization work in a completely opposite direction, so that it serves as a platform for further political reckoning, which protracts and deepens the Self-vs.-Other dialectic, leads to the policies of exclusion (of other ethnic groups) and stimulates hatred? The theoretical approach is securitization of Europeanization as a context of transformation of ethnic identities, which is applied to the case of Republika Srpska (RS), one of the two political entities of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The empirical objective of the PhD Thesis is to establish the following:
- Which historical events shaped the modern metanarrative of Bosnian Serb ethnic identity and the political identity of RS?
- How voters of the two leading Bosnian Serb ethno-political parties (SDS and SNSD) define the identity of Bosnian Serbs and RS in relation to the internal and external “Other”?
- Which elements of Europeanization are securitized by the political elites of RS?
- In what way does Europeanization manifest as an ontological insecurity for RS instead of being a positive source of its political integration within Bosnia-Herzegovina and the EU?
PhD Thesis will yield at least three original scientific contributions. First, a theoretical value added is the conceptualization of intertwining between (de)securitization and ontological security by introducing Europeanization as a context, which eventually enables transformation of ethnic identity (eventual greater identification of people with their civic rather than ethnic identity). This promises a new understanding how Europeanization can function as a source of securitization of ethnic identities. Second, originality also lies in the methodological approach. Since the existing studies are predominantly based only on qualitative methods, the candidate, conversely, applies a mixed-method approach. The PhD Thesis conducts a statistical analysis of public opinion survey and enriches the results with data gathered in focus groups conducted in five cities in RS. Third, the Thesis fills the gap in Security Studies, where the unit of analysis is predominantly a state. By taking subnational political entities as an object of analysis per se, this contributes to understanding the functioning of these actors as de facto states in times of uncertainties in the international community. In this respect, RS in particular is analysed as an object of its own security dilemma and not merely as a source of insecurity for Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Faris Kočan, MA, is Young Researcher and Teaching Assistant at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences. In his PhD dissertation, he tackles questions regarding ontological security and securitisation of identities in the context of Europeanisation, focusing on the case of Republika Srpska. Before becoming Young Researcher, Faris Kočan worked in a H2020 project RePAST – Revisiting the Past, Anticipating the Future, where he was focusing on the troubled past of Bosnia–Herzegovina within the field of arts and culture, history, media, politics and European integration.
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