Reintegrating Veterans in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia: Citizenship and Gender Effects


Berdak, Oliwia. 2015. “Reintegrating Veterans in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia: Citizenship and Gender Effects.” Women’s Studies International Forum 49 (March): 48–56. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2014.07.001.


Author: Oliwia Berdak


This article explores the ways in which the 1991–1995 Yugoslav Wars and the policies of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) have affected gender relations and citizenship in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. DDR policies, and particularly the reintegration component, have come with a number of ‘side effects’. Rather than being a short-term solution to make combatants put down their weapons and become ‘normal’ citizens, they have valorised the citizen–soldier and created powerful identities and interest groups. Because this war was masculinised in both discourse and practice, this has resulted in highly gendered social citizenship, with the bulk of state resources now claimed by male war veterans. This study points to the need for greater contextualisation of any post-conflict policies. In the context of state- and nation-building, DDR policies are likely to become a tool of nationalist politics, entrenching hierarchical citizenship and hampering critical reflection about the conflict and militarised masculinity.


Topics: Citizenship, Combatants, DDR, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Post-Conflict Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia

Year: 2015

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