Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

First Advisor's Name

Mohiaddin Mesbahi

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Thomas A. Breslin

Second Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Susanne Zwingel

Third Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Russel E. Lucas

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Juliet Pinto

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

committee member


Nationalism, Identity, Bosniak, Bosnian Muslim, Bošnjak, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sandzak, Balkans, Yugoslavia, Islam

Date of Defense



This study is concerned with the particular relationship between the process of nationalism and a group’s salient identity. It proposes that nationalism as the independent variable serves as a principal factor and facilitator for a change of identity, which is seen as the dependent variable. The Bosnian Muslim emergence as an independent nation with the new salient Bosniak identity was used as a case study to test the main proposition.

The inquiry was completed through a mixed research method, using grounded theory and the historic process tracing technique, a large survey analysis collected specifically for this study, and a logistic regression as a concluding test. The historic process tracing method describes the Bosnian Muslim group’s development from a distinct Balkan Ottoman religious millet group, through a stage of its own ethno-religious cultural crystallization, another stage of nationality during the Communist era, to an independent nation that now shares the country of Bosnia-Herzegovina with two other nations. Through their struggle to survive and re-assert themselves as an important local political entity, Bosniaks built their nationalism upon three important themes: B-H integrity, Bosnian Islam, and the Bosnian language. A 68-question survey regarding these three themes designed specifically for this study was conducted, and 670 survey responses were collected from the Bosnian Muslim diaspora population living throughout the Midwestern and Eastern U.S. in their Appadurai-type neighborhoods. The data collected from those surveys were manipulated in preparation for a final analysis. The two nationalism indexes measuring intensity and type, and six categories of Bosniak identity, were constructed to observe interactions between nationalism and identity.

As the final step, a statistical analysis with multinomial logistic regression confirmed the proposition and showed that the factor which stimulates selection of a new desired salient identity is intensity of nationalism, not type of nationalism .

This work contributes to the ongoing discussion on the true role of nationalism as a collective action. At the same time, it provides the field of comparative politics with a comprehensive description of the emergence of Bosnian Muslims as a nation, and with details of their nationalism project and their now salient Bosniak identity.






Appendices are supplemental files:

1. Appendix A: Nationalism Strength Index

2. Appendix B: Nationalism Type Index

3. Appendix C: Bosniak Identity Survey Booklet (English Language Version)

4. Appendix D: Bosniak Identity Survey Booklet (Bosnian Language Version)



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