NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ815206
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Pages: 23
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 36
ISSN: ISSN-0010-4086
Discourses of Integration and Practices of Reunification at the Mostar Gymnasium, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Hromadzic, Azra
Comparative Education Review, v52 n4 p541-563 Nov 2008
The global politics of reconciliation provide a blueprint for postconflict reconstruction projects around the world, including in South Africa, Rwanda, Northern Ireland, and Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H). Of these, the B&H case is of particular interest due to the extensive involvement of some of the world's most powerful states and leading international institutions in governing the country. Given B&H's position vis-a -vis the International Community (IC), nation-building and citizen-making processes are unique in the sense that they embody the following collision: on the one hand, the IC initiates reunification and nation building based on the "Western" notions of democratic, liberal, and ethnically plural principles of citizenship and society; on the other hand, the recent bloodshed resulted in the enforcement of ethnic segregation that spurs ethnonationalist sentiments and primordial notions of belonging. Education and youth are among the most fertile grounds to study this collision and to grasp the cultural production of new forms of identity and solidarity that emerge as a result. In education, the struggle takes place through the simultaneous unfication and segregation of schools and curricula. In this article, the author considers one instance of this struggle, the "integration" of the Mostar Gymnasium. Building on 22 months of ethnographic fieldwork, the author illuminates the tension between the IC's discourses of integration and the local ethnonationalist quest for segregation in postconflict B&H. Furthermore, the author argues that IC's "failure" to fully integrate the Mostar Gymnasium has to be understood in terms of the contested space of the IC's quest for integration and the national minorities' (especially Croats') search for segmental autonomy. The Croat political community, through segregation, used education to achieve protection for its community, culture, and especially language. The IC, when challenged by the resistance of the Croats in claiming its right to segmental autonomy, was forced to modify its rhetoric of integration by shifting to the rhetoric of the "reunification" of the school. This collision, reversal, and transformation of the discourses and processes of integration led to the development of a new educational phenomenon in B&H: an administratively unified school with two separate curricula. The school now has a unified management, while preserving ethnic segregation and the ethos of segmental autonomy. The materialization of a new form of school that is concurrently "shared" and "separated" creates a new type of school geography in B&H, one based on the ideology of ethnic symmetry and polarization of youth. This reordering of the school and society generates segregated youth citizens coming of age in the society stumbling on its path to democracy. (Contains 38 footnotes.)
University of Chicago Press. Journals Division, P.O. Box 37005, Chicago, IL 60637. Tel: 877-705-1878; Tel: 773-753-3347; Fax: 877-705-1879; Fax: 773-753-0811; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Bosnia and Herzegovina