The NATO integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is closely tied to a strong surge in externally led state building following the conflict of the 1990s Informed by the ideals of liberal peace, one of the key components of state building was security sector reform and a restructuring of the armed forces. A shifting approach by the international community, varying between imposing decisions and insisting on local ownership, managed to establish the joint BiH Armed Forces, but allowed for the appropriation of the NATO integration process by local ethnic party elites. As a result, NATO integration in BiH regressed into an exercise in institutional reform, pursued in disarray and primarily addressing technical issues. Even if successfully brought to fruition, NATO integration will have failed to achieve the objectives of fostering substantive peace in BiH.
This research is premised on two theoretical constructs: that maps do not objectively depict space and that traditional cartography produces a geopolitical narrative. The research aim is to investigate geopolitical influence in modern, digital representations of space, and vice versa. This paper is divided into three parts: In the first, the digital representation of space is introduced and explained, and two widely acknowledged digital cartographic services are established as the empirical foundation of the research – Google (Google Maps and Google Earth), designed by cartographic and geo-data professionals, and OpenStreetMap, built through crowdsourcing. In the second part, the geopolitical features of traditional cartography are discussed in the context of digital mapping, including ethnocentricity and hierarchical representations of space, similarities to geopolitische karte, and “minor geopolitics.” The final part asks and answers a key question about geopolitical subjectivity: “Who benefits from the geopolitical narratives in digital representations of space?”