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Crisis Governance in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia

The Study of Floods in 2014


Edited By Vedran Džihić and Magdalena Solska

This comparative study at hand has been the result of a two-year research project on floods in 2014 in the Western Balkans engaging eight research teams from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia. Representing quite different disciplines, the authors of this volume have analysed diverse aspects of the crisis governance and its ramifications. This publication’s goals are twofold. Firstly, it pins down the characteristics of the crisis responses during the floods of 2014 in three affected countries, preconditioned by the existing institutions, crisis leadership, the role of media and the social capital as well as the foreign financial aid. On the other hand, through the lenses of the crisis governance we conclude on the state capacities and the nature of political regime of the cases under study. The flood megacrisis did not constitute a "window of opportunity" for individual or institutional learning. On the contrary, it did unveil some authoritarian tendencies in Serbia and Bosnia, and thus stalled the hitherto ongoing democratization process.

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1. The Floods of 2014: Crisis Governance, State Capacities and Political Regimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia (Vedran Džihić / Magdalena Solska)


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1.  The Floods of 2014: Crisis Governance, State Capacities and Political Regimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia

This introductory chapter considers the different political systems in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Serbia and Croatia and tries to capture theoretically the relationship between crisis management, the art of leadership and governance. It also seeks to draw conclusions about state capacity through the lenses of crisis governance. Finally, it looks at the relationship between the specific response to the crisis and the process of learning at individual and institutional levels in democratic and nondemocratic regimes. We argue in this chapter and throughout the whole volume that the ways in which countries deal with major crises reveal much about their state capacity and about the fundamental character of their regimes.

Keywords: crisis governance, leadership, learning, state capacity


The floods in May 2014 in Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina have been termed the most devastating event since the wars. Despite this landmark occurrence, the causes of the disproportionate damage, the apparent lack of preparedness or efficiency of the main institutions and individuals in charge have not attracted much academic attention. This volume attempts to fill in this gap and explore central tenets of crisis governance in the three countries under study. ← 7 | 8 → 1

Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina share a common past in the former Yugoslavia and...

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