Celebrating Statehood Day, Social Sciences Research Centre, Burch Diplomacy Club, and Department of International Relations, invited prof. dr. Jasmin Mujanović, visiting professor of political science and plicy studies at Elon University and author of Hunger and Fury: The Crisis of Democracy in the Balkans, to hold a lecture on the topic of “Statehood and Democracy.”
The guest was welcomed by Mersid Poturak, rector of International Burch University, Mirza Tokić, president of Burch Diplomacy Club and Amer Kurtović, representing SSRC. The four met in rectorate, where rector represented IBU and welcomed the guest in the most representative way.
In light of the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina recently celebrated Statehood Day, on November 25, this lecture was held in that honour, as prof. dr. Mujanović talked about statehood and included the topic of democracy, connecting it to the case of BiH.
Mujanović continued with separating crisis in BiH on three levels: international level crisis, regional level crisis – focusing on western Balkans or the post-Communist countries, and the crisis unique to BiH. Later in his speech, he explained how the three interact and interplay, and how they affect each other.
Talking about international level, prof. dr. Mujanović emphasised 2014 and 2016 as periods of shift of international politics and how all of those, election of president Trump in the USA, and Brexit issues in the UK, was just a temporary crisis, and how it is easy to return things as they were before.
Continuing with regional level, BiH and other countries in western Balkans are facing a democratic backslide, and throughout the history, this notion was always weak in this region. Even today, there are cleavages emerging about quality of liberal democratic governance, as Federation of BiH tends to be more democratic and open than Republic of Srpska, depending on how people exercise democratic rights.
Prof. dr. Mujanović comments on democracy in BiH and people’s views on democracy as very disturbing. “The fact that we have normalized the idea that one of the largest cities in the country, Mostar, has no elcetions at municipal level is equivalent to social cancer”, he added.
Moving to the third level of crisis, local level, which is connected with regional dynamics in a way, prof. Mujanović discussed the issue of lack of democratic culture. Professor also mentioned the problem of Dayton, and our close-minded and special constitution. He explained this social problem as ordinary people do not know their role in democratic process.
This is evident through a fact of society’s misunderstanding of opposition parties and politics, which are critical for healthy democratic societies. “We have a tendency to focus on people and personalities rather than institutions as we think democracy is about individuals and not practices, norms and institutions”, he added.
Professor Mujanović continued with answering questions from the audience and talked about democracy, autocracy, whether democracy is more important than peace, about extent of how democratic BiH is and what the meaning of Dayton Peace Agreement for BiH is.