Bosnian-Herzegovinian Citizens in the Making – The Citizenship Debate in the Time of Social Mobilizations

Drawing upon rhetorical approaches to citizenship, this article analyzes how the contested notion of Bosnian-Herzegovinian (BiH) citizenship has been crafted on the discursive level during two series of social mobilizations taking place in 2013 and 2014. It aims to provide a better understanding of how various actors make sense of BiH citizenship. This study investigates what values were associated with citizenship, how boundaries of membership were drawn, and how the ethno-national dimension and linguistic complexities came into play. It analyzes a corpus of 150 media articles covering the protests in four major printed daily newspapers while methodologically relying on the discourse historical approach developed by Reisigl and Wodak. The analysis demonstrates that discursive articulations of citizenship are generated within the immediate context of social mobilization but are also influenced by historical legacies, institutional preconditions, regional aspects or global narratives. It shows that the decentralized institutional set up combined with the multi-layered and multidimensional meaning of citizenship blur the notion of BiH citizenship as an all-encompassing term and pose an obstacle to the formulation of an alternative vision of the BiH polity to the post-Dayton order.

Barbora Chrzová, “Bosnian-Herzegovinian Citizens in the Making – The Citizenship Debate in the Time of Social Mobilizations“, Nationalities Papers, 2023.