NATIONALISM DURING ARMED CONFLICT: A STUDY OF IDEOLOGY AND IDENTITY IN THE BOSNIAN WAR, 1992-1995
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This dissertation asks when and why leaders and members of ethno-religious groups choose to express one type of nationalist ideology and ethnic identity during armed conflict instead of another. It argues that patterns of wartime violence and external actors play direct and indirect roles in making certain forms of nationalism and ethnic identity more useful for dealing with wartime circumstances. The dissertation advances this argument by joining together four independent empirical chapters. Each empirical chapter has its own research question, its own dependent variable, and its own theoretical argument. All four chapters focus on one ethno-religious group in conflict: the Bosnian Muslims during the 1990s war in Bosnia. Methodologically, I apply statistical analysis to an original dataset of over 3,700 speech acts by Bosnian Muslim leaders of the wartime Bosnian government in order to explain why the frequency and form of their wartime nationalist rhetoric varied. I also employ historical evidence and qualitative text analysis to reveal the mechanisms underlying the statistical relationships. In addition, one of the empirical chapters analyzes survey data to explain why, following the war, some Bosnian Muslims supported politicians that made religious appeals. Using this approach, the dissertation finds the following results. First, intense violence against the predominantly Bosnian Muslim population of wartime Sarajevo prompted the Bosnian Muslim leaders of the Bosnian government to use nationalist ideological claims more frequently in domestic media. Second, contingent wartime events spurred these leaders to shift their rhetoric in domestic media from civic to ethnic nationalism in the second year of the war. Specifically, internal power struggles and external peace proposals increased the usefulness of making ethnic nationalist claims to domestic audiences. Third, Bosnian leaders’ need for external aid combined with their uncertain likelihood of receiving Western military support led them to use both civic and religious nationalist rhetoric in foreign media. Fourth, Bosnian Muslims who experienced internal displacement during the war became more religious as a means of coping with the trauma of displacement, which in turn made them more likely to vote for religiously oriented politicians after the conflict.