Member of Leibniz Association
Research Departments
No State and Nation - no Democracy. The Democratization of the Post-Civil War Societies (closed)

Since 1989, almost every agreement on ending a civil war has prescribed democratization. This holds true as well for wars between ethnically defined conflict parties. Under such circumstances the characteristic problems of democratization are aggravated. According to the theory, democracy-building requires a state accepted by all relevant actors. Furthermore, democratization needs citizens regarding both, the own conflict party and the adversary, as a part of the demos.

However, in ethnically divided post-civil war societies, the conflict parties quarrel over the state and the definition of the demos. Thus, democratization faces a double challenge: first, to establish democratic state institutions (state-building), second, to create a minimum common feeling of belonging (nation-building). In the context of ethnically divided post-civil war societies a progress of state-building depends on a progress of nation-building and vice versa.


This project investigates how to master state-building and nation-building simultaneously. It combines process-tracing in longitudinal studies with cross-case comparison. The cases under study are Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and other post-civil war societies. The findings are relevant both for the theory and the politics of democratization.


The project was funded from January 2008 to November 2010 by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation).

Current Publications

Research Fellows:
Thorsten Gromes
Bruno Schoch