Geschwister-Scholl-Institut für Politikwissenschaft (GSI)




Bogdan Zawadewicz

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung (IOS) Regensburg


Bogdan Zawadewicz ist wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter in der Nachwuchsforschungsgruppe „Frozen and Unfrozen Conflicts“.

Er studierte Politische Wissenschaften an der Universität Warschau. In seiner Doktorarbeit untersucht er den Einfluss symbolischer politischer Konfliktlinien auf die Strategien der Separatisten in den gespaltenen Gesellschaften der Ukraine und Bosnien-Herzegowinas.
Seine Forschungsinteressen erstrecken sich auch auf die Postkoloniale Theorie, Diskursanalyse, Bourdieus Theorie der sozialen Felder und den soziologischen Neoinstitutionalismus.
Er war als Gastwissenschaftler an verschiedenen wissenschaftlichen Einrichtungen beschäftigt, wie der Central European University in Budapest, dem Zentrum für Südosteuropastudien in Graz und dem V.V. Giri National Labour Institute in Delhi.
Bogdan Zawadewicz erhielt mehrere Stipendien für seine Forschungsaufenthalte in Serbien, Rumänien und den USA.


Aktuelles Forschungsvorhaben

The impact of symbolic political cleavages on the elites’ strategies in divided societies – the case of Bosnia and Ukraine

The symbolic position of Bosnia and Ukraine in international hierarchies as semi-peripheral countries determines the character of their political cleavages. The global symbolic inequalities are translated into the local hierarchies of power which exist between different entities. Since the state-building processes in both countries are driven by external actors the attitude towards the West is the main axis of political divisions. It shapes to a great extent the strategies of the local elites which belong to the different political entities. A lack of recognition and the threat of discrimination are the prevailing emotions which are incorporated into collective narratives of the separatist elites. The process of power centralization (“Europeanisation” as a discourse) which has been set up by the elites that are close to the West is contested by Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina and some members of the Russian-speaking minority in Ukraine as the forms of institutional violence and symbolic domination. The separatist elites expect to gain symbolic recognition not only from their local rivalries but also from the external elites.

The theoretical model I build upon relies on the analysis of three levels of social reality; macro-, meso- and micro. Depending on the level of analysis I apply the proper theory. At the macro level it is the world-systems theory which I find the most useful for describing the structural and symbolic factors that define the position of Ukraine and Bosnia in the global hierarchy and show how these inequalities are translated in domestic politics. At the meso level, I define the political cleavages which are linked to the actors’ attitudes to the West and their commitment to the existing institutional arrangements. At the micro level, I examine the actors’ discursive practises and positions in the peripheral field of power by applying Bourdieu’s theory of capitals and Lindemann’s theory of non-recognition – both of which provide the powerful explanation for the separatist strategies of the local elites.

There are historical, symbolic and geopolitical commonalities between Bosnia and Ukraine. Institutional legacies have been inherited from the period during which these two states were parts of larger, multi-ethnic political entities, i.e. Yugoslavia and Soviet Union, and in which the existing political and cultural identities were supressed by the one-party regimes which used communist ideology (along with means of coercion) as a vehicle for legitimizing power and creating unity within the state. After the collapse of communism these countries followed different paths of transition - in the case of Bosnia, full independence was preceded by ethnic strife and war, while in Ukraine conflict has arisen some time after independence resulting not only in power shifts but also in territorial loss. In both cases, the externally driven state-building process has not yet finished and the two countries consist of highly polarized societies and face institutional deadlock.
In the case of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the internal ethnic divisions are institutionalized in the form of federal state which consists of Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The existing institutional arrangements are challenged by the Bosniak elite which tends to centralize the country and constrain the autonomy of Republika Srpska. On the other hand, the Serbian elite seeks to keep the current status of its entity but often uses the threat of disintegration of the country (separatist tendency). In Ukraine the institutional arrangements have been challenged by some Russian-speakers who identify with Russian culture as opposed to a Ukrainian identity, mainly inhabiting Eastern Ukraine. As a result the Ukrainian central government lost its authority not only in Crimea (annexed by Russia) but also two new so-called ‘people’s republics’ of Donetsk and Luhansk.
My research has an interdisciplinary character and is inspired by multiple methods used by Pierre Bourdieu. Apart from using critical discourse analysis as a primary tool, I also try to explore the insights from economics, political geography, sociology of elites, critical geopolitics and classical political science.
While building the conceptual framework, the thesis is structured around content analysis of scholarly articles and works that collate with the strands of literature proposed as a theoretical foundation for this project. As concerns the research strategy, I apply the model developed by Vincent Pouliot in his paper on Bourdieu’s methodological assumptions (Pouliot, 2013). First of all, I plan to use my current knowledge and experience of living in the Balkans as a source for ethnographical participation and observation. These experiences have already given me access to the general practices in the field of power in Bosnia and Herzegovina so I am able to reconstruct the local doxa. Relying on informal interviews, textual analysis of primary sources (including basic discourse analysis) I would like to gain sufficient knowledge to describe the general practices in the Ukrainian field of political power. The next step is to define the dispositional logic of practises, that is, the practical knowledge (“tacit” know-how, inarticulate knowledge) that makes practices possible. This entails determining the meaning that agents/actors attribute to their reality. For this purpose, I plan to conduct semi-structured interviews with local decision-makers, journalists and scholars. I will also use “relational biography” which will provide me with greater information on who those interviewed individuals are and where they come from in order to see the relationship between what they say and their own strategic positions (what institutions or political organisations they are attached to, what kind of other capital they possess etc.). The last stage will include positional logic and comprises three tasks: interpreting the rules of the game; mapping the distribution of symbolic resources; historicizing social struggles. I will begin by analysing the discursive practises which are a great source of information about contextual rules. These rules are also inscribed in a variety of social artefacts such as codes, symbols, objects etc., that structure the political field and impart it with shapes and texture. Apart from discourse analysis, I will seek to introduce social-network analysis which is a powerful tool to represent the structure of social relations within a given field. The last step is to historicize the field’s doxa by reconstructing its evolution over time.


Eine detaillierte Projektbeschreibung finden Sie hier.

Bogdan Zawadewicz's Profile in English