Conceptually, this paper is about the becoming of states and how such states are a socially constructed spaces, imagined and performed by those who perceive themselves as belonging to that state. It asks through what imaginaries and performative practices does a state come into being? More specifically, the paper investigates how the state is imagined and performed in times of war and peace hoping to offer insights to the co-constitution of war or peace and the state. The analysis of the fledgling state and suspended state-making process makes visible the emplaced imaginary and performative quality of every state. It may also shed light on the constitutive relationship between war-making on one hand and state-making or state-breaking on the other, as it explores an embryotic process of crafting a state in the midst of war. Empirically, this paper investigates the state-making process of Republika Srpska (RS) through the conceptual lens of state becoming. Here RS figures both as an empirical state-making process, and as an example of an imagined and performed state to be conceptually explored. In particular it reads the irredentism of RS to justify its territorial claims on the basis of real or imagined historic or ethnic affiliations within the context of the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the parallel state-making projects that remade the Western Balkans. Thus, this paper adds to the interdisciplinary debates on becoming a state as well as to imagined and performed statehood.
Björkdahl, A. (2018). Republika Srpska: Imaginary, performance and spatialization. Political Geography, 66, 34–43. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2018.07.005