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New "Democracy, Bosnia-style?"
The Joukowsky Forum
Watson Institute for International Studies,
Brown University
March 14, 2003

Workshop Vision

This workshop brings together scholars with on-the-ground experience in post-war Bosnia to discuss issues of international and local participation in democracy building. A form of foreign-led social and political engineering is underway in Bosnia, where local elites and citizens also seek stability and security. The workshop speakers will focus particularly on how these different actors communicate and the importance of culture in shaping the path of political change.


Kimberly Coles
Kimberly Coles studied anthropology at the University of California Irvine. She conducted ethnographic field research in post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina between 1997 and 2000), working in various capacities within the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) the multinational agency charged with implementing free and fair elections under the Dayton Peace Accords. Her work analyzes the cultural practices and logics of democracy and international assistance, focusing on the practices and meanings embedded in concepts such as "transparency" and "free and fair elections."

Christophe Solioz
Christophe Solioz studied languages, philosophy and psychology at the Universities of Zurich and Geneva. Since the early 1990s he has played an active role in coordinating projects in the field of Human Rights and Civil Society Development in Central and South-Eastern Europe. As well as s erving in a leadership role in the Swiss Helsinki Citizens' Assembly (hCa), he collaborated with Bosnian politicians and scholars in setting up the Forum for Democratic Alternatives, which has undertaken a number of applied research projects since the late 1990s. He will speak on issues of transnational and local civic activism in post-Dayton Bosnia.

Tone Bringa
Tone Bringa received her PhD in social anthropology from the London School of Economics in 1994, and is now a senior researcher at the Chr. Michelson Institute in Bergen, Norway. She conducted fieldwork in Bosnia-Hercegovina before, during and after the wars of 1992-5, and has drawn on that expertise to play an active role in policy circles, including experience as analyst for the UN in Bosnia, and witness at the International Criminal Tribunal. As well as her influential 1995 book on Bosnian Muslim identity, Being Muslim the Bosnian Way, she made the 1993 ethnographic film We are all neighbors, which detailed the impact of war on a mixed village, She has recently completed a second ethnographic film, Returning Home, which documents the experiences of displacement and return for people from the village. She will discuss the film and issues of local agency, especially as related to forms of international assistance.


10.00-10.30 Introduction - Keith Brown, Watson Institute.

10.30-11.30 International dimensions of democratization
"'Nothing' matters: International intervention and the Practices of Passivity."
- Kimberley Coles, UC Irvine.
Discussion mediator: Peter Andreas, Watson Institute

Click here for Kimberley's paper in pdf format

11.30-12.30 The role of local organizations and activists
"Between Transition and Consolidation of Liberal Democracy."
- Christophe Solioz, Forum for Democratic Alternatives, Geneva and Sarajevo.
Discussion mediator: Chip Gagnon, Ithaca College, NY.

Click on links for Christophe's Powerpoint presentation: part one and part two

12.30-2.00 Lunch break
Tone Bringa's first film, We Are All Neighbors, will be screened during the lunch break

2.00-4:00 Citizens' perspectives on post-conflict stabilization
"'Returning home' - a documentary of refugee return in central Bosnia."
- Tone Bringa, Chr. Michelsen Institute, Bergen, Norway.
Discussion mediator: Keith Brown