Laurence Cooley. To be a Bosniak or to be a citizen? Bosnia and Herzegovina's 2013 census as an election. Nations and Nationalism. Vol 25, Issue 3, 2019. Pp. 1065-1086.
Bosnia and Herzegovina's first post-war population census, held in 2013, was accompanied by campaigns associated with each of the country's three main ethnic groups, which sought to maximise their share of the recorded population. These campaigns were challenged by a rival ‘civic’ campaign that instead stressed the right to freedom of self-identification, however. This article compares the aims, methods and framings used by this civic campaign with those of the most prominent of the ‘ethnic’ campaigns – that of Bosniak ethnic entrepreneurs. It demonstrates that the two campaigns were each motivated by a combination of symbolic motives, centred on recognition and highlighting discrimination, and instrumental motives relating to the country's power-sharing institutions. The limited success of the civic campaign in countering the messages of its rival ethnic campaigns demonstrates the difficulties that civic movements face in mobilising citizens in consociational democracies such as BiH.