Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Josef Korbel School of International Studies

First Advisor

Timothy Sisk, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Karen Feste

Third Advisor

Gabi Kathoefer


Bosnia, Communication, Ethnicity, Identity, Nationalism, President


Ethnic divisions undermine statebuilding efforts in Bosnia-Herzegovina almost twenty years after the end of a war among the three main ethnic groups in the country. The political elites influence on how nationalism and identity is experienced in Bosnia-Herzegovina and offer reflections on how the country can or cannot be united. To what extent do the political elites at the level of the presidency articulate more narrow, ethnic themes or a broader national identity in pubic speeches? The rhetoric used by the political elites is explored to find occurrences of ethnic polarization or a framing of national identity. The thesis is informed by theories that account for the construction of identity and nationalism, in addition to theories around ethnic conflict and myth-making rhetoric. Speeches made by the presidents of Bosnia-Herzegovina are analyzed from 2004-2012 to find instances of specific word usage that encourages a unified Bosnian identity, promotes an ethnic identity, or attacks another ethnicity. Initial findings indicate the level of the presidency is too elevated to create narrow instances of ethnic identity advancement, resulting in a low number of occurrences of specific ethnic identity rhetoric. This was unexpected from what the conceptual orientation offered by scholars would predict. The political elite did offer ethnic specific expressions, but these were few in comparison to expressions around a unified, nationalistic Bosnian identity. The reality of ethnic divisions in the country is perpetuated at another level in the political or social landscapes of the country, not at the political elite level.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Mary Miller

File size

99 p.

File format





Rhetoric, International relations, Baltic studies