What civil society after civil war? : a study of civil society organizations' affect on peace consolidation in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Tajikistan
This dissertation seeks to explain how civil society organizations can positively affect peace consolidation based on cases of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community based (CBOs) organizations from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Tajikistan. It aims to determine how and why civil society organizations behave as they do in post-conflict, post-communist, contexts, and assess their contribution to peace. The link between civil society and peace has been assumed in research literature, but little comparative empirical research has been carried out to explain its nature. This dissertation is an attempt to fill this gap. I describe how liberal and communal definitions of civil society are applicable to the Tajik and Bosnian cases based on a brief historical analysis. NGOs are found to be the most significant organizational representation of liberal civil society, and CBOs, especially mahallas (neighborhoods) and mjesne zajednice (local communities), of communal civil society in the postwar period. I outline key post conflict challenges, classifying them as institutional, behavioral, political-economic and rights based. I develop a series of preliminary hypotheses on civil society organizations' possible contributions based on civil society and peace literature. These assumptions are tested through case studies of two NGOs and two CBOs. I determine how the post-conflict, post-communist, environments influenced organizations' choices of missions, programs, linkages, structures and funding sources. I conclude that experienced and charismatic leadership, clear missions, ability to build trust, understanding of donor relations, and well-developed linkages, were essential for success. I confirm many of the assumptions regarding civil society's potential to positively affect peace, but find some critical differences. One important conclusion is that not only inter-communal but also intra-communal organizations can support peace.