The Social Movement for Truth and Justice – Pragmatic Alliance-building with Political Parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Keywords:accountability, autocratization, democratic backsliding, democratic innovation, illiberal politics, justice, “Justice for Dženan” Movement, social movements, pragmatic symbiosis
Protests among citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina are becoming more frequent. Most often, their aim is to decry the dysfunctionality and opacity of the government, which are the result of the ethno-political structure created by the Dayton Agreement, but also a trend towards democratic regression and autocracy. A number of authors have tackled the “JMBG” protests of 2013 and the Plenums that emerged from the February 2014 protests, from their particular disciplines. The focus of this paper is the social movement “Justice for Dženan,” organized by the Memić family upon the tragic death of Dženan Memić in Sarajevo in February 2016. An in-depth study was conducted with key actors of the movement, as well as those who follow or in some way support the protests. Particular emphasis in the research was paid to the pragmatic symbiosis of the social movement and one political party. We argue that it is possible to identify a pragmatic symbiosis as a novel form (democratic innovation) of socio-political cooperation that can impede rising autocratization. Through the quest for accountability, social movements are introducing new strategic practices of mobilization and a novel type of alliance-building with external factors (new political parties as well as other social movements). The goal of the paper is to explore how the social movement “Justice for Dženan” interacts with political parties and approach the political sphere in BiH. Also, the idea is to examine the possibilities and functionality of this kind of cooperation with the framework of contentious politics.
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