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Ethnic, Religious, and National Identities among Young Bosniaks and Serbs in Minority and Majority Contexts in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Shaping Social Identities After Violent Conflict

Abstract

The chapter presents an inquiry into the nature and the dynamics of ethnic, religious, and national identity of youth in Bosnia and Herzegovina using qualitative and quantitative methods. These identities are still very meaningful to the youth, but the salience of each identity switches in different contexts. The national majority rated national identity as being more important to them than ethnic identity, while the minority rated ethnicity as being more important than national identity. There is an almost complete overlap of religious and ethnic identity, where religion is understood as an exclusive indicator of ethnicity. The chapter discusses the potentially destructive consequences of identity politicization, finding the Bosnia and Herzegovina youth struggle between accepting the politicized forms of collective identities, and their reinterpretation to make the society harmonious for all.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Interestingly, another study from the same period (1989) with youth samples showed that religious beliefs were much less pronounced: only 53 percent of Croat, 34 percent of Muslim, and 21 percent of Serb respondents considered themselves religious (Velikonja, 2003). This contrast illustrates that even religious identification and religious beliefs cannot be considered completely overlapping phenomena.

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Turjačanin, V., Dušanić, S., Lakić, S., Čehajić-Clancy, S., de Sanctis, M.P. (2017). Ethnic, Religious, and National Identities among Young Bosniaks and Serbs in Minority and Majority Contexts in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In: Pratto, F., Žeželj, I., Maloku, E., Turjačanin, V., Branković, M. (eds) Shaping Social Identities After Violent Conflict. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-62021-3_4

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