Peacebuilding in the Balkans: The View from the Ground Floor
After suffering years of war, Bosnia is now the target of international efforts to reconstruct and democratize a culturally divided society. The global community's strategy has focused on reforming political institutions, influencing the behavior of elite populations, and cultivating nongovernmental organizations. But expensive efforts to promote a stable peace and a multiethnic democracy can be successful only if they resonate among ordinary people. Otherwise, such projects will produce fragile institutions and alienated citizens who will be susceptible to extremists eager to send them back into war. Paula M. Pickering challenges the conventional wisdom that common people are merely passive recipients of peacebuilding projects. Instead, in Peacebuilding in the Balkans, she shows how ordinary people, particularly minorities in Bosnia, understand elite rhetoric and actively shape reconstruction.