CURRENT FELLOWS

Autumn 2019    


Guglielmo Feis (University of Milan, Italy)

Guglielmo Feis is a philosopher (BA, MA) with a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Law (i.e. Faculty of Law) experiencing first hand how to conduct interdisciplinary research and getting bashed from both sides. “At least it is harder to get bored, working this way.” He has worked on impossibility in the legal domain, Ought implies Can, Social Ontology, normativity conflicts and a bunch of other topics (see on Academia or Research Gate for more). He’s been lucky to have wonderful co-authors. Nowadays he is actively engaging working on blockchain and the law (and their philosophical relevance) plus the artifactual thesis of law.

Project – title: Channeling Social Justice through the Blockchain? A Critical Review of the Potentiality of Distributed Ledger Technology (DTL) in Reducing Financial Inequalities and Improve the Access to Financial Information

The project critically investigates how blockchain technology impacts social justice. The Findex Report on Financial inclusion (https://globalfindex.worldbank.org/#GF-ReportChapters) claims 1.7 billion people remain “unbanked”. There are no loans nor credit cards available for them. Commerce and tax collection are difficult. Blockchain technology can contribute to reduce financial inequality given its protocol’s structure and the way it requires users to operate on the network.

The project analyses the data on the unbanked and explores how the blockchain may prevent unfair financial moves such as insider trading and speculation. Financial inequality will be addressed as a philosophical issue in social justice. Considerations from social ontology will also be important. Introducing the blockchain and its potential sets the stage to evaluate the case-studies of Faircoin (a solidarity blockchain) and Electroneum (a mobile phone-based blockchain). The whole analysis takes into account the points of the European Commision text on “Distributed ledger technologies and blockchains: building trust with disintermediation” (3 October 2018 – P8_TA-PROV(2018)0373) and relies of the researches by the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum, i.e. the main EU organism that monitors and reports on the developments of blockchains in the EU.


Roswitha Kersten-Pejanić (Humboldt University, Germany)

Roswitha Kersten-Pejanić completed her PhD thesis on the interrelation of linguistic norms and gender perceptions in Croatian in 2016. She holds a magister degree in history and Serbian/Croatian from Humboldt University and a master degree in EU studies from Centre International de Formation Européenne.

From 2010-2017, Roswitha was working as a research associate and lecturer at the Department of Slavic Studies and the Transdisciplinary Center for Gender Studies at Humboldt University in Berlin. She also worked as a trainer for EU fundraising both in academic and non-academic education. She is co-editor of the volume “Doing Gender – Doing the Balkans” and has published papers on issues of gender, language, discourses and Europeanization in Croatia, such as “Language ideology and linguistic manifestations of gender conceptualisations in Croatian”, “»Imenice muškog roda imenice su općeg roda…« Why Questioning Androgendering Naming Practices for People Is Still Worth the (Slavicist’s) While”, “Are times of Europeanisation times of the gender experts? The window of opportunity in the EU accession process in Croatia”, and others.

Project – Title: Linguistic Landscapes at the margins: Performativity of ethnic belonging and memory politics in Croatian post-conflict border regions

Roswitha will be a fellow at CAS SEE for the next two years while working on her project “Linguistic Landscapes at the margins: Performativity of ethnic belonging and memory politics in Croatian post-conflict border regions” which receives funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG, project number: KE 2368/1-1):

Her research concentrates on the linguistic landscape in two rural border regions and former war sites in Croatia (the “Danube border region” around Vukovar, Ilok, Erdut and Batina and the “Una border region” around Kostajnica, Dvor, Dubica and Jasenovac). A central emphasis will be on the examination of persisting linguistic signs of ethnic and nationalist tension in the public space. The continuing influence of the war and, hence, the status of this space as a post-conflict site is of particular analytic importance for this research project. By using a triangulated methodological approach based on an ethnographic perspective on language use, the interrelations of linguistic signs in public space, their political messages, the corresponding ideological origin, as well as their temporality (i.e., both the historical context in which they were produced as well as the current time, which these linguistic signs are still influencing), will be examined.

The project aims at making an active contribution to the methodological development of Linguistic Landscape Studies (LLS) by concentrating on rural landscapes, while most research in LLS so far has focused on the study of urban areas. Furthermore, the project is drawing the attention of this emerging field of ethnographic studies on language use to South Eastern Europe, which allows adding a particularly fascinating set of material and analysis due the loaded legacy of (language) politics in this region.


Dragana Kovačević Bielicki (University of Oslo, Norway)

Dragana Kovačević Bielicki is a social researcher focusing mainly on forced migration, nationalism, groupism, and identity and belonging in discourse. Based in Norway since 2009, she received a PhD in Migration, Nationalism and Culture Studies in 2016 from the Faculty of Humanities, University of Oslo.  A monograph based on her doctoral research was published in 2017 with the title Born in Yugoslavia- Raised in Norway: Former Child Refugees and Belonging (Oslo, Novus Press, 2017). In addition, she holds degrees from Central European University (MA, Nationalism Studies) and the University of Belgrade (BA, Philosophy). She is a returning lecturer for the Peace Scholars program at the International Summer School, University of Oslo.

Project – title: Mapping the anti-migrant protests in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina through their online media coverage (2015-present)

“The “migrant crisis” in Europe in 2015 and beyond has resulted in an abundance of pro- and anti-migration discourses and practices.  The continuous arrival and transit of migrants has been accompanied by rising anti-migration sentiments and reactions. This small-scale project focuses on the organized anti-migrant protests in three transit countries along the Western Balkan migration route: Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina between 2015 and present. Protests are one of the most visible practices used to express rejection of any social phenomenon, also a practice that tends to attract media attention. This is why, in addition to mapping the protests so far organized, this research will seek to explain how these protests are covered and framed by the online media, and what experiences and discourses fuel the rejection of migrants and migration.  This small-scale study will theoretically be framed through the notion of interdiscursivity, seen as the key to understanding how discursive change is related to social change. The hypothesis is that online news media and social media are among the most prominent environments relevant to the reproduction of cultures of rejection and cultures of acceptance alike. Digital ethnography is the method I will employ to collect material, while the analyzes of the material will be informed by Multimodal Critical Discourse Analyses.”


Andrey Menshikov (Ural State University, Russia)

Andrey Menshikov graduated in Philosophy from the Ural State University (Ekaterinburg, Russia) and Medieval Studies from Central European University (Budapest, Hungary). He defended his PhD dissertation on Nicolas of Cusa’s theory of toleration in his “De Pace Fidei” at the Ural State University (2006). He was a fellow at Boston University (2004), University of California Berkeley (2007), Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (2007-8) and is now involved in research projects on political philosophy (religious freedom) and intellectual history (philosophical reflection on war and collective violence) supported by the Russian Science Foundation.

Project – title: Unequal Distribution of Religious Freedom in the Discourse on Human Rights

Several tendencies in social and political development have now created a complex situation for exercise and for regulation of freedom of religion. Among these tendencies, one might highlight 1) communicative re-structuring of the public sphere, 2) reassessment of emotions’ epistemic status in political discourse and public debate, 3) re-shaping of religious behavior due to mediatization and digitalization. In this research project, I propose to explore the two interrelated problematiques: 1) the growing role of emotions both in justifying and in making decisions that affect human rights (with particular focus on religious freedom); and 2) the re-conceptualization of the freedom of religion in new circumstances. The latter refers to the fact, as O. Roy puts it, that “freedom of religion is both defined as a Human right and is perceived as a threat to Human rights (women’s rights, child’s right – in the case of circumcision, for instance, – not to speak of “animal’s rights” – ritual slaughtering). The problem is that freedom of religion is not just freedom of opinion, it is the freedom to have a religious practice, and this practice cannot just be reduced to the private sphere”. Specifically, I will have to focus on how major religious organizations and authorities in their official documents define the freedom of religion and whether they accept any permissibility of coercion, restriction of rights and/or rejection of those who are different in their religious views and practices. I will also have to look at state policies on regulating the freedom of religion and at the cases and decisions of the international institutions such as the European Court on Human Rights.


Valentina Moro (University of Padova, Italy)

Valentina Moro obtained a doctoral degree in Philosophy in 2019, at the University of Padova (Italy). Her main research field is Political philosophy, but her research approach is interdisciplinary, as she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Classics and she is interested in Gender and Feminist Studies. In 2016 and 2017 she obtained two Visiting Research Fellowships at Brown University (USA), where she did research for two semesters at the Political Science department. Her supervisor was Professor Bonnie Honig. She has recently co-edited the collective volume Polis, Erōs, Parrēsia. Letture etico-politiche contemporanee della tragedia greca, published in 2018. Currently, she’s a member of a research group in Political Philosophy and History of Political Concepts at the University of Padova and she collaborates with the editorial board of the scientific journal Materiali foucaultiani. She is a member of the American Political Science Association (APSA).

Project – title: Deconstructing Languages of Rejection: a Political Theory Analysis of Feminist Discourses and Methodologies

This research proposal aims to analyse different political languages and discursive productions. On the one hand, I will discuss a specific methodology of research within political studies – namely the discursive approach to gender political analysis. In particular, I will focus on the way in which this methodology has been used to study the specific political language of European Union (EU) policies in relation to gender equality. On the other hand, this research will focus on feminist political movements, and particularly on the case of Non Una Di Meno in Italy. I will try to answer two sets of questions: (i) is it possible to face cultures of rejection by changing the language of institutional norms and policy documents? What has the feminist discursive analysis of political languages remarked about the efforts the EU has made on the matter of gender equality? Which is the EU policy on this matter in relation to the media? (ii) How did feminist political movements rise from within civil society to counteract cultures of rejection? Which particular forms of political languages do they deploy? Are they effective?


Roberto Roccu (Kings College London, UK)

Roberto Roccu is  a  Senior  Lecturer  in  International  Political  Economy  at  King’s  College London, where he has been working since completing his PhD in International Relations at the   London   School  of  Economics   and  Political   Science  (LSE).   Roberto   has   published extensively on the political economy of neoliberal reforms and revolution in the Middle East, the  EU’s  promotion  of  economic  reforms  in  its  neighbourhood,  and  critical  theories  of International Relations and International Political Economy. He is the author of The Political Economy of the Egyptian Revolution (Palgrave, 2013), the co-editor of The EU in the Mediterranean after the Arab Uprisings (Routledge, 2018, with B. Voltolini), and of The Dark Side of Globalization (Palgrave, 2019, with L.S. Talani). His work has appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as International Relations, Journal of Common Market Studies, Mediterranean Politics, Review of African Political Economy, and more.

Project – title: Comparative Political Economies of Lost Hope: Subaltern Trajectories of Inequality, Transformation and Rejection from the Arab Uprisings to Crisis Europe

While the contribution of neoliberalism, in the form of inequality and crisis, to the global wave of social mobilisation earlier this decade has received much attention, the same cannot be said of the effects of the intensification of neoliberalism on subaltern demobilisation. This is what this project is primarily concerned with.  Inspired by Gramsci and Lefebvre, and adopting a cultural political economy approach, the project looks at how the everyday life and common sense of subaltern groups have been affected by the experience of defeat and the ensuing ‘authoritarian neoliberal’ phase. It does so through a transregional comparison of the conditions of subalternity in Egypt and Bosnia and Herzegovina informed by the ‘extended case methodology’. The project studies the comparative political economies of the authoritarian neoliberal turn globally and the experience of defeat locally, and examines how these processes have led subaltern groups in both countries to retreat from a ‘positive’ transformative project of liberation towards a ‘negative’ position of resistance at best and resignation at worst. Combined with the inability of dominant groups to restore their hegemony, this has left a vacuum filled by various forms of xenophobic and exclusionary nationalism and their ‘cultures of rejection’.


Oszkár Roginer (Karl Franzens University, Austria)

Oszkár Roginer was born in 1986, in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia, where he studied Hungarian Studies at the University of Novi Sad (Serbia). After receiving his diploma in 2009, he moved to the University of Pécs (Hungary) in order to pursue his PhD in Literary Sciences, and defending his thesis in 2016. In 2014 he started an International Joint Degree MA in Cultural Sociology at the University of Zadar (Croatia) and the Karl Franzens University in Graz (Austria), and obtaining his MA in 2016. He is currently a PhD candidate at the Centre for Southeast European Studies in Graz, where he is working on his thesis on the construction of the Hungarian minority literary field in the post-Habsburg space. Between 2009 and 2014 he worked as a radio journalist and theatre critic in RTV Vojvodina, and in the daily newspaper Magyar Szó in Novi Sad. His most important publications include the monographs A város mint (ellen)érv. [The City as a (counter)argument]. (2015), and A jugoszláviai magyar irodalom terei – A (poszt)jugoszláv magyar irodalom és a téralapú közösségi identitás-konstrukciók viszonya a sajtóban (1945–2010). [Terrains of Hungarian Literature from Yugoslavia – Correlations between (post)Yugoslav Hungarian Literature and the constructions of spatial collective identities in the press (1945–2010)]. (2019) His academic interests lay in Hungarian minority literature, Hungarian press history of Yugoslavia, geocriticism, historical literary sociology, collective identities, memory studies.

Project – title: Cultures of rejections – (self)perception of minorities and knowledge production

The project examines a type of methodological nationalism in research conducted on minorities, migrants and refugees. I would attempt to deconstruct the (self)perception of minorities of Central- and Southeast Europe in academic knowledge production, where the inter-state system is often perceived merely as a set of neighbouring containers. This simplistic and analytically insufficient (self)perspective produces uniqueness by rejection, spatial peripherality, disrupted temporality, isolation of social and cultural processes, a mono-causal path of argumentation based on a binary structure of majority-minority, and a series of social realities with references often not extending beyond the nation state. This resulted in an insular imagination of minorities within the social sciences and humanities throughout the 20th century and even today. Although this archipelagic logic has not presented itself as a problem in the previous century, in times, when global processes interpenetrate every social structure, their misrepresentation can severely undermine contemporary research.


Francesca Rolandi (University of Turin, Italy / University of Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Francesca Rolandi received a Phd in Slavic Studies at the University of Turin in 2012 with a dissertation on the influence of Italian popular culture on socialist Yugoslavia, which in 2014 received the award Vinka Kitarovic of the University of Bologna for thesis dealing with the history of neighbouring countries. She has been a postdoctoral research at the Italian Institute for Historical Studies in Naples, the University of Rijeka (Marie Curie – NEWFELPRO fellowship), and the University of Ljubljana (ERC project EIRENE Postwar Transitions in Gendered Perspective: The Case of the North-Eastern Adriatic Region). Her research interests range from the social and cultural history of the Upper Adriatic area and the post-Yugoslav space to the history of refugees and migration in the 20th century.

Project – title: Doš’o sam u grad iz pasivnog kraja. Internal Migration, Settlement Dynamics and Social Practices in post-World War II Rijeka

“This project aims to investigate the settlement process and internal migration flows in post-World War II Rijeka, tracing their influence on the urban fabric of the city. Post-war reconstruction required a sharp increase in labor force to replace the many local inhabitants who left as a consequence of the new border setting and fulfill the needs of the local industry. The new immigrants who reached the city came not just from the surrounding areas but also from other more faraway regions, including the southern Yugoslav republics.

This project will shed some light on the policies adopted by the Yugoslav authorities to repopulate the city, including the process of negotiation with the local context. Moreover, it will analyze these migration flows taking into account national but also class and gender aspects. Focusing on specific, carefully selected, places, where wider phenomena were displayed, it will investigate the impact of the practices of consumption, housing policies, dynamics of social inclusion or exclusion on the process of identity building.”


Snežana Vesnić (University of Belgrade, Serbia)

Since graduating at Belgrade University Faculty of Architecture in 2000 she has worked on many significant architectural and urban/town planning projects. She is well regarded and recognised in professional circles for her outstanding and innovative designs. Vesnić held many senior positions in large successful corporations and has a vast experience in working on various town planning, architectural and art projects. At the same time, she developed her own architectural practice (Neoarhitekti, Belgrade) and significantly, number of these projects have been recognised and won awards and commendations (two nominations for the Mies van der Rohe Award, 2009 and 2019). She is involved in scientific research in the field of architectural philosophy and aesthetic. She is currently working as an assistant at the Faculty of Architecture, Department of Architecture. Snezana received her PhD in 2018 at the Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade, with a thesis “Philosophy and Aesthetics of the Architectural Concept: Object of Reality and Object of Illusion”.

Project – title: Positive European Futures: Creating New Concepts for the Transformation and Redefinition of Digital European Values

Case study: Rijeka Between Analog and Digital

This project examines the possibility for the creation and construction of new European concepts of culture, using the authentic spatial and architectural potential of the peripheral zones of the European Union. Architecture’s potential beyond itself, as a discipline that always implies a group working together, is here used to answer questions of existing unused capacity, a “reserve” (or store) of Europe as such at its edges. The term “periphery” is taken as purified and emptied of all negative connotations it might otherwise carry. Thus, its use aims to describe a heterotopic character of a place, the nature of which gives it the strength to creatively and innovatively examine or complement the center. The city of Rijeka is taken as a sample or examination range to: 1) establish the potential of ‘difference’ of the specific and concrete spatial unit outside Europe’s “center,” 2) project potential visual and digital transformational model that conceptualizes the capacities of difference, in order to 3) practically demonstrate and measure the possibility of inclusive reflections into European tendencies, through a seminar and workshop 2020 that would offer a critical look at the project “Rijeka European Capital of Culture.”

This project focuses on uncovering the particularity of the architectural space of the “periphery,” which can be directly translated into political strategies, economic projects and cultural activities. The method is as follows: first we define 1) “what is difference – what is different?”, and then we examine 2) how the potential of difference defined so can create new meta-value that surpasses itself and impacts the broader European context. We are seeking the materialization of this difference, that is, the media and tools, the design necessary for its effective representation.


Non-Resident fellows

Carlos González Villa (University of Madrid, Spain)

Project – title: The Slovene Reaction to the European Migrant Crisis: Class and Ideology at the edge of Schengen

“The European response to the 2015 migrant crisis was initially featured by warm welcome expressions from the European elites, especially from EU institutions and the German government. However, it quickly evolved into the enhancement of extremist positions and the “Fortress Europe” pretension. The opposition to the limited European Commission’s relocation and resettlement plan – initially led by the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia – ended up in the conclusion of an agreement with Turkey for the return of asylum-seekers to that country. Along this process, governments, mainstream political parties and new far-right organizations have shaped cultural-related and seemingly technical discursive lines for rationalizing the exclusion and rejection of migrants. In the case of the Slovene elites, the justification for the closure of the “Balkan route” of refugees in September 2015 relied in the assumption of their responsibility to protect the Schengen external border and in the intention of remaining in the core of an eventual multi-speed Europe.

This project aims to define the state of the ideology within the Slovene ruling class during the migrant crisis, considering that ideological trends do not solely respond to agency, but also to structural relations, which take place inside polities and at the transnational level. The peripheral position of Slovenia within the EU and the consequences of the European economic crisis are departing points for assessing the existence of a contagion in the region after the arrival of migrants.”


Gruia Bădescu (Oxford University, UK)

Project – title: Spatializing Cultural Policies and Activism in Croatia and Romania: A Comparative, Transnational Study

“For decades now, many European cities have embraced a repertoire of cultural policies thought to stimulate spatial development —such as the cultural mega-event or the Bilbao-emulating contemporary art museum — and democratic practice— including diverse processes, ranging from the spatial memorialization of public crimes to an opening to citizen participation and inclusion. Participation and inclusiveness in city-making have been packaged in EU documents as a “European best practice”. Exported through various EU channels in new member states,  these policies intersected –and at times clashed-  with a strong local activism and grassroots organization calling in particular for more inclusive, participatory practices.  My project will explore in a comparative and transnational frame the spatialisation and democratization of cultural policy in two such contexts, Croatia and Romania.  It will examine the entanglements of various actors at the local scale, as well as similarities, differences and links between urban activism and policies in the two countries, often researched separately because of language limitations, historical differentiations, as well as narratives and imaginaries of exceptionalism. Aiming to understand the wider region as a space of flows of ideas and practices, and using the lens of comparative urbanism, I will explore how two particular themes in cultural policy and activism have been included in debates of spatial development and inclusiveness:  the cultural mega-event and the process of memorialization. First, I will scrutinize the role of European Capital of Culture bids in spatial development and inclusive city-making, with a particular focus on how the theme of participation has been mobilized in the bids for capital of culture in Rijeka, Zagreb, Timisoara and Bucharest.  Second, I will build on my current research as part of the AHRC-Labex research project “Criminalization of Dictatorial Pasts in Europe and Latin America in Global Perspective” to investigate the spatialisation of memory policies and politics and the entanglements between actors, both locally and transnationally.”


Natasha Sardžoska (Karls Eberhard Universität Tübingen, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3, Università degli Studi di Bergamo)

Project – title: Mapping of Spatial Memory in Limitrophe Cities: Border-Landscapes and Border-Bodies

“The project draws on political meanings of borders which are perpetually blurred and shifted in tidal geography of continuous phenomenological evolution undergoing cultural mummification and erasure of preexisting maps. In the societal porosity context, where we are witnessing a revival of “quick sand” cultural boundaries, I shall focus on the production of new map of borders, flows of non-targeted displacements and dislocations, indeterminate journeys and nostalgia for a lost space instigated by the political shattering of urban zones. The corpus of my research are social actors and artists inhabiting Istria region who are disintegrating, misplacing, reinventing and questioning invisible boundaries in urban landscapes and the interstice of artistic, nominal and liminal interpretations. I plan to elaborate interventions reflecting space, new monuments, mapping of memory, mental landscapes, re-formed urban spaces. The larger context remains in the European border politics emerged from spatial reconfigurations. I draw on Italian, Slovenian and Croatians artists inhabiting Istria arguing forms of belonging, artistic exile and self-definition that unveil interrelations of cultural mutation processes from common spatial memory towards transitory emotional memory. The goal is to rethink the interconnected mapping and bordering meanings, which have become marginalized, detached, diasporic but at the same time a center and a nucleus of creativity, ontological uncertainty, cognitive anxiety, diversifying identifications and proliferating movements and unpredictable trajectories in a city. The question I am tackling is: is it so important to draw boundaries, charts and maps when the world has turned culturally liminal, flow and creolizing?”


Marija Ott Franolić (University of Zagreb, Croatia)

Project – title: Read, Think, Act

“In an unstable and shifting world with growing social injustices, the ability to think critically and creatively, as well as to show solidarity with others, could be a path to social change. The aim of my research is to interdisciplinary connect Adorno’s concept of education for “general enlightenment” to the act of critical and creative reading. The questions are: can the merging of critical and literary theory give us some answers on how to enhance critical thinking? Can reading fiction encourage the development of open-minded, solidary people ready for change?

I shall define and analyze the connection between reading literature and becoming an autonomous subject. I will connect Adorno’s views to literary theory and phenomenology, in order to inspect how creative and critical reading of literature can heighten our empathy, along the lines of the theory of Martha Nussbaum. In the light of Marx’s claim that one should educate the educators, I will implement my theoretical findings at the critical reading workshop with the students of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Rijeka. We will read creatively and try to imagine alternative, better ways of living.”


Mateja Kurir Borovčić (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Project – title: Architecture as ideology: The perspectives of critical theory from modernism to the present

“A basic entry point to reflect on architecture, which has always been deeply connected with ideology, in the realm of critical theory is explicated by Fredric Jameson in Political Unconscious:

How is it possible for a cultural text that fulfils a demonstrably ideological function, as a hegemonic work whose formal categories as well as its content secure the legitimation of this or that form of class domination – how is it possible for such a text to embody a properly utopian impulse, or to resonate a universal value inconsistent with the narrower limits of class privilege that inform its more immediate ideological vocation?

The ideological function of architecture is the key focus of this project. Architecture will be held here as a prominent theoretical ground for the spatial formation of ideology as such. Critical theory has largely elaborated on the formation and understanding of ideology within architecture during the age of modernism (Benjamin, Adorno) and postmodernism (Tafuri, Jameson), as well as in neoliberalism.

The aim of the project is to prepare an article outlining the basic reception of architecture in critical theory from modernism to the present, in order to reflect on architecture as a spatial formation of ideology in the age of neoliberalism, where architecture is established as one of the prominent battle fields of capitalism.


Milorad Kapetanović (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Project – title:Regulation of Informal Construction in Anticipation of the European Capital of Culture Rijeka 2020

“Rijeka is an odd case in the wider Croatian context of informal construction development and regulation. During the period of its largest industrial growth in the 20th century, the city did not have a problem with informal construction to the same extent as other industrial centres like Zagreb, Osijek or Split (Vresk 1997, Vresk 1998). Still, several inner city and suburban neighbourhoods developed a significant number of informally constructed buildings (Pehlin, Rujevica, Grpci, Pilepići, Rubeši, Rešetari, Srdoči, Matulji, Kostrena). Individual informal construction is commonly held culpable for disrupting urban planning and infrastructure development. It often involves socially vulnerable segments of the population, such as ethnic minorities (particularly Roma), rural to urban migrants, precarious industrial workers and war refugees, making agency and vulnerability of the actors involved in the practice a complex question. As the current dynamics of informal construction regulation in the city are soon to be altered with preparations for European Capital of Culture – Rijeka 2020 (ECC), I am interested in the ways these preparations affect informal construction regulation. Major projects such as ECC aim to attract investments and publicity. Likewise, they are frequently used to solve cities long-term ills rapidly and can serve as a justification for large developments. My research project examines the consequences ECC will have on the development of the mentioned neighbourhoods and general public infrastructure in the city; how these effects distribute towards the city periphery; and what the dynamics may hold for minorities in the city.”


Davide Pala (University of Torino, Italy)

Project – title: Experts, Good Citizens, Democratic Public Debates and Global Warming

“Among climate experts there is an overwhelming consensus that (i) global warming is occurring, that (ii) this fact is alarming and that (iii) humans  are causally responsible for it. Despite this, 16% of American citizens deny that (i) global warming is occurring, 48% of them question (ii) its seriousness, and 50% think that (iii) human activity has no role in causing it (Anderson 2011). These discrepancies can be observed in many other countries as well. In this project I intend to provide a moral framework to assess the attitude of those citizens that, like American citizens, in democratic public debates concerning the elaboration of public policies, mistrust experts, i.e. trustworthy  epistemic  authorities,  in  regard  to  beliefs  that  are  justified and  almost undisputed within the scientific community. Moreover, I aim at employing this moral framework to evaluate the attitude of those citizens that mistrust climate experts, and I intend to outline some feasible proposals useful to counteract this attitude. To accomplish these aims, I will proceed in three steps. First, I will develop the non-exhaustive ideal of the good citizens publicly debating in democratic contexts. I will argue that, according to this non-exhaustive deal, as a necessary but not sufficient condition, in democratic public debates citizens show what I call the virtue of the epistemic trust in trustworthy epistemic authorities, as a way to respect themselves and each other as peers in circumstances of epistemic dependence. In more detail, by translating rawlsian ideas of both rationality and reasonableness into epistemic terms, and by broaden them in order to cover public debates too, I will show that the virtue of the epistemic trust in trustworthy epistemic authorities is required by two ideas specifying the non-exhaustive ideal of the good citizens publicly debating in democratic contexts, i.e. the idea of rational citizens, and the idea of reasonable citizens. Second, after elaborating this moral framework, I will employ it to assess the public mistrusting attitude showed, within  democratic  contexts,  by  citizens  toward climate experts, and argue that it is bad, because it shows the lack of the virtue of the epistemic trust in trustworthy epistemic authorities. Finally, I will outline some public and feasible strategies that should be used to modify this bad attitude.”


Jelena Belić (Central European University, Hungary)

Project Title: What is Wrong with Withdrawing from an International Cooperation?

“The research project aims to analyze what, if anything, is morally wrong with a state’s withdrawal from an international cooperation. The UK’s leaving the EU or the US’s withdrawing from the Paris agreement, and more recently from UNESCO are good illustrations. All three withdrawals have been broadly criticized on different practical grounds. The withdrawals, however, also have an important normative dimension. Namely, many have condemned them as being bad in some sense. I will analyze the problem at two levels. First, we may want to know what exactly, if anything is morally wrong with a state’s withdrawal from an international cooperation? Is this a case of promise breaking? Second, how do supranational integrations as well as international treaties affect legitimacy of participating states? Some might say that it is morally permissible for states to change their mind, and withdraw from an international cooperation as long as they voluntarily do so. But such view can be challenged on two grounds. First, what about those individuals within the withdrawing state that were against the withdrawal? Why should they comply? Second, what about the impact the withdrawal has on states that keep cooperating? I will use Rawls’s principle of strains of commitment to develop the normative framework for thinking about the problem of states’ withdrawing from multilateral cooperation.”


Rory Archer (University of Graz, Austria)

Project–title: Postsocialist Croats in postcatholic Ireland: Comparing worlds of work in contemporary variants of neoliberalism

“My project at CAS SEE explores recent Croatian migration to Ireland (2013-2018). It tackles narratives about mobility in Croatian (social) media and among individual migrants. The question guiding the project explores the experience of variants of neoliberalism in late-capitalism more broadly: What can personal narratives which compare worlds of work – subjective experiences of labour regimes in two different capitalist states – tell us about variants of neoliberalism? The guiding assumption is that socialisation in a socialist and postsocialist labour regime like Croatia may serve as a means to problematize labour regimes in contemporary Ireland and vice versa for individuals. Departing from labour and motilities, the project also explores the extent to which there are grounds for conceptualising confronting Irish post-Catholicism as a case of ‘dealing with the past’. When approaching the legacy of what was often a coercive, authoritarian, de facto theocratic socio-political order in Ireland is there any value in comparing and contrasting this to the post-conflict, post-socialist social context of Croatia and the ‘mnemonic battles’ taking place there? Are such contrasts and comparisons made by contemporary Croatian migrants themselves and does it inform their understanding of contemporary Ireland and prompt political action or social engagement?”


Mónica Cano Abadía (University od Zaragoza, Spain)

Project – Title: Risky Vulnerability. The Rise of Neo-Fascist Discourses and the Possibilities of Political Transformation in Judith Butler

“This research project addresses Judith Butler’s stances on neo-fascist discourses, applying her analysis to the European context, from where we are witnessing an unsettling and dangerous rise of fascism. Vulnerability is a key concept for this project, and it will be analyzed within the tension that its riskiness implies: on the one hand, it connects us to our fragility; on the other hand, it is related to our power to act, to our political agency, and it allows us to share a powerful bond that enables political stances and transformative actions.

Butler’s very recent writings on the rise of fascisms, old and new (Butler, 2017), focus on the case of the United States of America, but this research project will try to apply this analysis to the rise of populisms and fascist discourses in Europe. Regarding her thoughts on social change and political activism, this research projects aims to elucidate how Butler’s thoughts on political assembly, performative action, and solidarity (Butler, 2015) can be applied to counteractions against the rise of fascist discourses and precarizing actions.”


Nataša Janković (University of Belgrade, Serbia)

Project–title: Re/I:translating terRI[s]tories: architectural stories about Rijeka’s territory

“Architecture and territory are a permanent transcript – a spatial narrative on the cultural portrait of the city that is seen as a cultural palimpsest of overlapped layers of spatial and cultural transformation. Previous research about mapping the architectural stories about Rijeka’s territory (terRI[s]tories) represent a basis for the new readings of the city. The activities of the project are about re:reading and re:translating some of the terRI(s)tories for the needs of Rijeka ECOC 2020 and with the aim of transcription/documenting the only constant thing about cities – their transformation (the idea of the acronym Re/I from the title of the project was to associate to Panta Rei, cities are also in constant change, and Rijeka is well known as a “city that flows”). The expected result of this project is the atlas of cultural maps – a portrait of the city, created through the methodological examination of printed and new media forms of representation and dissemination of the research results. The main contribution of the project is it’s potential use for the purpose of education about and promotion of Rijeka.”


Visiting Fellows

Tomaž Deželan (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Project–title: Supporting Evidence-based Education of Youth Workers (SEEYW)

“Through laying the groundwork for the professionalisation of youth work and delivering a set of outputs related to the evidence-based education and training of youth workers, the project will strengthen capacities of youth workers and contribute in the long term to the overall quality of youth work provision in project partner countries (Croatia and Slovenia). Existing research and recommendations for youth work policies, both at the EU and national levels, have pointed to the need for quality education and training of youth workers as one of the preconditions for achieving quality youth work. The project activities include a research of youth workers’ education and training needs in Croatia and Slovenia. This will be achieved by mapping the existing education and training opportunities for youth workers, by identifying and analysing the existing training activities and programmes in both project partner countries, by mapping and analysing the existing study programmes which train youth workers in Europe, with the aim to help identify contemporary trends in youth work education and training and the educational pathways for youth workers across Europe. Also, a field research of the needs in youth work training and education in Croatia and Slovenia will be carried out, which will target youth workers and their employers, as well as young people and decision-makers. The field research will combine quantitative and qualitative research methods (online questionnaires, focus groups and interviews). The project goals include: the development of proposals for occupation and qualification standards for youth workers, the development of a curriculum for a life-long-learning study programme for youth workers and the development of a curriculum for a tertiary-level study programme for youth workers.”


Dino Pitoski (University of Krems, Austria)

Dino´s current project, entitled “The complex network of human migration – inputs for European migration policies”, runs within the PhD programme in Migration Studies at Danube University. The project observes human migration from network theory and statistics perspective. Through 3 planned publications, Dino 1) outlines the relevance ranking, based on the analysis of empirical evidence, on a long list of migration influential factors, the so called “migration drivers”, 2) applies network indicators and models to the specific case of internal migration in Austria, working at the same time on advancing these measures for weighted directed networks in general, and 3) traces statistical relationships between the comparable elements from both two domains (network indicators and migration drivers). Ultimately, the established system of migration drivers, network measures and their relationships, is built into an online migration observatory, useful to regional and national policymakers, and other parties (e.g. researchers, agencies, consultancies) interested in migration and its management. The project is funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and Austrian Federal Ministry of Interior (BM.I).


Slavko Kurdija (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Senior Scientific Associate of social science methodology at the Center for Public Opinion and Mass Communication Research (CJMMK) at the Faculty of Social Sciences.

He is a full member of the Slovenian Public Opinion Survey (SPO) research group since the nineties. He is a researcher and coordinator of the survey infrastructure program, which includes implementing and conducting various cross-national and national social surveys. Since 1990 the SPO program has been intensively integrated into the international research framework. The most important projects are International Social Survey Program (ISSP), World Values Survey (WVS), European Value Study (EVS) and most importantly the European Social Survey (ESS). All the above-mentioned projects considered the basic research infrastructure in the European Social Sciences area. His research and academic activities involve designing and harmonizing methods, adjusting and implementing the research instrument and provide methodological resources and quality control in the national environment. In several of the aforementioned studies, he acts as a coordinator. Since 2002, when the European Social Survey (ESS) was established, he has been a full member of the national coordination team. In 2007, he became the national coordinator (NC) of the ESS project in Slovenia. The ESS is the study of the utmost importance, as is setting new standards in the field of the cross-national comparative research (the Descartes Prize). Since 2009, Slavko Kurdija is the head of the Infrastructure Center (IC): Program for the Comparative Social Research (ESS-ERIC Slovenia and PLMER), which is part of the Network of Infrastructure Centers at the University of Ljubljana. He has been working at the Centre (CJMMK) for almost 30 years. In the mid-nineties, he established a research-based telephone studio infrastructure at the faculty for conducting numerous of applied studies for various state institutions. He is predominantly active in the field of data collection, data analysis, data management in the field of social science. He has been actively involved in the following topics: analysis of general public opinion, public attitudes about health and health inequalities, personal and social well-being, employment satisfaction, trust in institutions, social values, political and moral orientations. In 2014, he co-authored the book ‘Health and Medicine in Transition in the renowned publishing label Edition Echoraum (Vienna). Within the same publishing label, he and his colleagues published a book: Social Research: from Paradigmatic Divide to Pragmatic Eclecticism (2017), which presents a selection of methodological contents of the in-house social research program. He has also published a number of articles and book chapters related to methodological topics or related to the aforementioned topics. Since 2010 he has been the editor of the SJM Documents Collection and the editor of the online publications ‘E-documents’ on the Centre’s web page.


Ekaterina Purgina (Ural Federal University, Russia)

Project–title: Conceptualizing Space through History: Travel Writing and Imaginary Geography

In modern societies, imagined geographies are constituted, along with other means, by travel literature. Unlike standardized tourist guides, travelogues offer personalized accounts of ‘genuine’ experiences of exploration and encounter. These experiences, however, are largely informed by the accounts of the previous travellers and require a number of literary devices and rhetorical strategies to create a coherent, engaging and authoritative narrative. In my project, I focus on literary and conceptual means employed to produce the ‘imagined geography’ of Russia in contemporary travelogues published in English and widely circulated. I explore the ways these travel accounts describe the spatial experience of Russia by connecting space to time and history. In particular, spatial travel often turns into time travel as the parallel spatial and temporal hierarchy emerges, built around several oppositions: modern, Western/European, urban, commercialized places vs unmodern, East/Asian, small town/village, de-industrialized and depressed space. Social ordering of space, therefore, becomes a reproduction of the power relations between the individual and the state, periphery and the centre, and thus establish the temporal orientation of where dwells the past and the future is advancing.