"Religious" and "Secular" in Socialist Bosnia-Herzegovina



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This thesis analyzes the Communist experiment of the separation of Church & state and secularization policies, alongside an ethnic accommodation of Serbs, Croats and Bosnian Muslims in multi-confessional Bosnia-Herzegovina during the Communist period. How did the ethnic and the confessional categories relate to each other, and to the concept of territoriality? And more importantly, how did the process of secularization complicate the ascriptive categories of Orthodox Christians, Catholics, and Muslims, as well as the concomitant process of nation building in Socialist Bosnia-Herzegovina? This research conveys a particularistic narrative of the dilemmas of secularization in Socialist Yugoslavia and its particular implications for Bosnian Muslims, whilst seeking to contextualize the violence of the 1990s. At the same time, it also raises a broader question of the place of religion within society and politics, modernity as well as of confessional categories amidst national politics. The complexity of separating the religious from the ethnic or cultural in this particular context illuminates the importance of determining the role of religion in a society, as an institution, a lifestyle and as a political category, before examining the question of secularization in a heterogeneous society.