Leadership Amidst Transition and Liminality: The Case of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Former Yugoslavia

Jesenko Tešan, Joan Davison


A history of empires and communism created a liminality in the former Yugoslavia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H). When leaders throughout the Soviet Bloc began to discredit communism, an opportunity opened for the leadership of B&H to unify the popular will and transition to democracy. Yet, the appropriate leadership, a master of ceremonies from van Gennep and Turner’s perspectives, a philosopher from Plato’s view was absent. Politicians instead repackaged themselves as nationalists and supported extremists and divisive actions, culminating in war. Subsequently, the mechanisms associated with the Dayton Peace Accords conceived to return B&H to normalcy instead made the divisive liminality a new normal as power sharing elites benefitted if they held to nationalist claims and ignored societal reintegration. This, study examines the reasoning and tactics of elites who rejected the mantle of good leadership and now abuse the spirit of the constitutional and institutional power sharing mechanisms to maintain the schizophrenic division and conflict. It also introduces the type of virtuous leader states needed for transition.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/ape.v3n2p16


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