This chapter examines Bosnia-Herzegovina's geopolitical setting in greater depth, most especially its status as a contested space between Serbia and Croatia. Both were not destined to fight over Bosnia-Herzegovina, yet the geopolitical cultures of both featured self-aggrandizing visions of national space that menaced the territorial integrity of Bosnia. All too often these visions were cartographic fantasies grounded not in geographical actualities but in nationalist idealizations. To underscore the implications of this deeply consequential disjuncture, the chapter then examines Bosnia on the eve of war. It contrasts the nationalist coloring of Bosnian space to the more complex human geographies evident from the 1991 census. Pace the maps that reduce Bosnia to a patchwork of national colors, it underscores the shared space, variable settlement geographies, and public culture of tolerance that characterized the actually existing Bosnia. The chapter ends with brief sketches of the three primary locations followed for the rest of the book.
Keywords: Bosnia-Herzegovina; Serbia; Croatia; geopolitical culture; national space; territorial integrity
Chapter. 14878 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: European Union
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