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Democratization Through Civil Society? A Qualitative Study of Accountability Structures Within NGOs in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Jönsson, Emma LU (2011) SIMT29 20111
Department of Political Science
Master of Science in Development Studies
Graduate School
Abstract
The international attempts to build peace and democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) are considered the most extensive in the modern era. In line with neo-liberal theories on development and the New Policy Agenda, substantial amounts of ODA have been directed towards strengthening the civil society in the country and one of the focus areas in this work has been the creation and support of a comprehensive NGO sector. The arguments have been that NGOs make ground for grassroots participation and that a participative civil society is a prerequisite for a functioning democracy. Today, there are over 12 000 registered NGOs in the country; however, the political climate is anything but participative and the BiH society is distinguished by a... (More)
The international attempts to build peace and democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) are considered the most extensive in the modern era. In line with neo-liberal theories on development and the New Policy Agenda, substantial amounts of ODA have been directed towards strengthening the civil society in the country and one of the focus areas in this work has been the creation and support of a comprehensive NGO sector. The arguments have been that NGOs make ground for grassroots participation and that a participative civil society is a prerequisite for a functioning democracy. Today, there are over 12 000 registered NGOs in the country; however, the political climate is anything but participative and the BiH society is distinguished by a widespread political passiveness. The purpose of this study is to take a closer look at structures of accountability with NGOs in BiH and analyze whether they promote grassroots participation or not, and thereby how this can be related to issues of democratization at large.

The results of the study show that NGOs in BiH are highly dependent on their donors, making it hard for them to direct their accountability downwards to the grassroots. External agendas seem to regulate their work. Also, the general situation is that many organizations are disconnected from the grassroots and rather run by a narrow group of people. Instead of representing the interests of the grassroots, they represent the personal interests of a few. This has resulted in a public perception of NGOs as not representative of the local population nor working for the common goals of the civil society. Hence, in the conclusion it is argued that NGOs do not succeed in filling their function as arenas for grassroots participation and can therefore be seen as an obstacle to the overall BiH democratization process. (Less)
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author
Jönsson, Emma LU
supervisor
organization
course
SIMT29 20111
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Participation, Non-governmental organizations, Democratization, Civil society
language
English
id
1967212
date added to LUP
2011-07-06 08:02:36
date last changed
2014-05-27 11:20:14
@misc{1967212,
  abstract     = {The international attempts to build peace and democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) are considered the most extensive in the modern era. In line with neo-liberal theories on development and the New Policy Agenda, substantial amounts of ODA have been directed towards strengthening the civil society in the country and one of the focus areas in this work has been the creation and support of a comprehensive NGO sector. The arguments have been that NGOs make ground for grassroots participation and that a participative civil society is a prerequisite for a functioning democracy. Today, there are over 12 000 registered NGOs in the country; however, the political climate is anything but participative and the BiH society is distinguished by a widespread political passiveness. The purpose of this study is to take a closer look at structures of accountability with NGOs in BiH and analyze whether they promote grassroots participation or not, and thereby how this can be related to issues of democratization at large.

The results of the study show that NGOs in BiH are highly dependent on their donors, making it hard for them to direct their accountability downwards to the grassroots. External agendas seem to regulate their work. Also, the general situation is that many organizations are disconnected from the grassroots and rather run by a narrow group of people. Instead of representing the interests of the grassroots, they represent the personal interests of a few. This has resulted in a public perception of NGOs as not representative of the local population nor working for the common goals of the civil society. Hence, in the conclusion it is argued that NGOs do not succeed in filling their function as arenas for grassroots participation and can therefore be seen as an obstacle to the overall BiH democratization process.},
  author       = {Jönsson, Emma},
  keyword      = {Bosnia and Herzegovina,Participation,Non-governmental organizations,Democratization,Civil society},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Democratization Through Civil Society? A Qualitative Study of Accountability Structures Within NGOs in Bosnia and Herzegovina},
  year         = {2011},
}