|Micro-level drivers

Bosnia and Herzegovina – Country Paper on Micro-Level Drivers

20 May 2024

Bosnia and Herzegovina, a Balkan nation located at the crossroads of Europe, has a rich cultural history and a diverse population. However, it has not been immune to the global phenomenon of radicalisation and violent extremism (VE), which has posed significant challenges to the stability and security of the country. The aim of this report is to analyse individual root-causes of VE considering the seven drivers identified in the project (religion, economic deprivation, territorial inequalities, transnational dynamics, digital socialisation, political issues [claims and grievances], and education, culture and leisure opportunities). The Bosnian team aims to detect which are the drivers of radicalisation and VE at the individual level, not only from the point of view of personal values and beliefs but also considering processes of primary and secondary socialisation that have an influence on individuals.

Such processes can present very diverse patterns due to the combination of factors, in some cases common to different communities but in others caused by specific situations of a specific social environment. The individual factor is a fundamental aspect to understand how certain processes of VE are driven and it can be very useful to verify, discard or refine patterns, contexts and drivers identified at the macro and meso levels.

Rooted in a complex history of religious and ethnic tensions, the rise of VE in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been shaped by a combination of factors. These include the aftermath of the 1992-1995 Bosnian War, economic struggles, political instability, and the spread of radical ideologies through the Internet and social media. One of the most significant concerns is the appeal of various extremist groups to disaffected and marginalised individuals, particularly among the youth. The allure of extremist narratives that promise a sense of identity, purpose and belonging has drawn a worrying number of Bosnian citizens towards radicalism.

The analysis of the individual drivers has been carried out through a survey to discern the weight that different factors related to intimate or broad social environments have in the individual dynamics that potentially lead to VE. The data gathered via the questionnaires will provide analytical insights and a comprehensive understanding about the relationship that young people have with the drivers, for example, identifying to what extent they are more susceptible or vulnerable to certain drivers than others. In this context, this report examines the VE and radicalisation landscape in Bosnia and Herzegovina, analysing the historical, social and political factors contributing to its emergence. It also explores the individual perception on the efforts made by the government and civil society to counter this threat.

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