“Race, Nation, Class’: Ambiguous Identities” international seminar with CAS SEE fellows

The coming year will mark three decades since the publication of Immanuel Wallerstein’s and Etienne Balibar’s seminal work Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities. The book, characterized by a specific ”dialogical” structure, has become influential in the study of racism and in the interdisciplinary school of cultural studies. The publication of the work was preceded by a series of Wallerstein’s and Balibar’s debates at the Maison des sciences de l’homme in Paris between 1985 and 1987. In the course of these encounters, the two authors developed the unique dialogical method, the ”practice-of-theory”, which consisted in the gradual elaboration and intertwining of the three fundamental concepts – race, nation and class – through simultaneous historical-empirical and theoretical analyses.

Wallerstein and Balibar formulate in this study a complex analysis of the roles that the classificatory schemes of race, nation and class played in the process of the genesis and global spreading of capitalism, above all their role in legitimizing the extreme social inequalities that capitalism produces and deepens. Upon the analysis, the authors’ central theoretical claim is that one can identify fissures, ruptures and contradictions in the fabric of the conceptual and empirical inter-imbrication of the three categories, suggesting that any strategy of resistance to forms of social domination grounded in the race-nation-class nexus must identify and exploit these contradictions. The authors finally draw our attention to the fact that the race-nation-class constellation is constantly being reinforced in global capitalism, which also requires constant reflection about new strategies of resistance.

The seminar at the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory aims to comprehensively reflect on the relevance and heuristic value of Wallerstein’s and Balibar’s study for the present day. Within its temporal limits, the seminar will try to employ the ”practice-of-theory” method of the book in its analysis and attempts at re-actualization. The participants are invited to engage in forms of critical reconstruction, either of particular aspects of the book or its whole, and to explore avenues for the possible application of Wallerstein’s and Balibar’s perspective in analyzing manifold ways in which the fundamental categories of race, class and nation are (individually or synthetically) today used to legitimize or challenge capitalism, globally as well as in the region of former Yugoslavia.

Time: December 18th 2017 at 14:30

Venue: Belgrade, Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory (address: Kraljice Natalije 45, 4th Floor)


14:30 – 14:40  | Welcome Word – Petar Bojanić (Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade)

14:40 – 15:00  | Introductory Remarks – Manuela Bojadžijev (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin/Berliner Institut für empirische Integrations-und Migrationsforschung, BIM)

15:00 – 15:20  | Regional Reception – Marjan Ivković i Djurdja Trajković (Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade)

15:20 – 15:35  | Coffee break

15:40 – 19:00  | Reflections on the Book


Rastko Močnik (University of Ljubljana and Faculty for Media and Communication, Singidunum University, Slovenia and Serbia), Gordan Maslov (Center for Social and Humanities Research, Croatia), Valida Repovac Nikšić (Faculty of Political Science, University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina), Nataša Sardžoska (Center for Advanced Studies of Southeastern Europe at the University of Rijeka, Croatia), Vedran Džihić (University of Vienna, Austria; Center for Advanced Studies of Southeastern Europe at the University of Rijeka, Croatia), Petar Bojanić (IFDT), Marjan Ivković (IFDT), Srdjan Prodanović (IFDT), Djurdja Trajković (IFDT), Jelena Vasiljević (IFDT), Adriana Zaharijević (IFDT), Carlo Burelli (Center for Advanced Studies of Southeastern Europe at the University of Rijeka, Croatia), Mónica Cano (Center for Advanced Studies of Southeastern Europe at the University of Rijeka, Croatia), Davide Pala (Center for Advanced Studies of Southeastern Europe at the University of Rijeka, Croatia)

Organizing Committee

Petar Bojanić (Center for Ethics, Law and Applied Philosophy; Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade)

Djurdja Trajković (Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade)

Marjan Ivković (Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade)


Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade

Center for Advanced Studies of Southeastern Europe (CAS SEE), University of Rijeka


Seminar is supported by Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKV), Berlin

Testimony. Poetry. Language. Conference

Organizers: Center for Cultural Decontamination, Belgrade; The Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, Belgrade and Center for Advanced Studies – South East Europe, University of Rijeka

Time and venue: Belgrade, 14 – 16. 12. 2017

Witnessing is a participative act, testifying is an act of speech with multiple addressees at one time, at the least those relating to the situation testified about, the situation of testifying and a self-address which constitutes multiple speakers. The simultaneity of time and space creates an ever-changing assemblage of singular-plural social relations, intimate and political, at work long after the testimony has been given and each time it is heard anew. The diversity of social relations at the base of testimony makes its relation to reality complex, both that experienced and that in which testimony is heard. This makes it unstable for the purpose of the listener whose demand is for The Truth i.e. a comprehensive meaning which would constitute the person testifying as Subject and/or as a generic Subject as well as constitute both testifying and testified factual situations as Events.

“In our European juridical tradition, testimony should remain unrelated to literature and especially, in literature, to what presents itself as fiction, simulation, or simulacra, which is not all literature. When a testifying witness, whether or not s/he is explicitly under oath, without being able or obligated to prove anything, appeals to the faith of the other by engaging himself to tell the truth — no judge will accept that he should shirk his responsibility ironically by declaring or insinuating: what I am telling you here retains the status of a literary fiction. And yet, if the testimonial is by law irreducible to the fictional, there is no testimony that does not structurally imply in itself the possibility of fiction, simulacra, dissimulation, lie, and perjury—that is to say, the possibility of literature, of the innocent or perverse literature that innocently plays at perverting all of these distinctions. If this possibility that it seems to prohibit were effectively excluded, if testimony thereby became proof, information, certainty, or archive, it would lose its function as testimony. In order to remain testimony, it must therefore allow itself to be haunted. It must allow itself to be parasitized by precisely what it excludes from its inner depths, the possibility, at least, of literature. We will try to remain [demeurer] on this undecidable limit. It is a chance and a threat, a resource both of testimony and of literary fiction, law and non-law, truth and non-truth, veracity and lie, faithfulness and perjury.” DEMEURE Fiction and Testimony, Jacques Derrida

Who testifies and to whom? What are the social relations created in, by and through language and what does language itself testify to? How does language relate to the time of the speaker, the spoken and the testimony? Assuming that presence is the core of testimony how does it relate to its actors? And how does presence become embodied and embedded in language or vice versa? How does the setting of testimony affect its procedure in different times and locations and do interrelations exist between these settings? Has the Holocaust become a paradigm for remembrance and what are its affects in different locations? Do poetry and prose offer a way in and out of testimony, memory and language itself? Holocaust poetry and prose have become canonized as the language of memory, how does it impact the remembrance of the Yugoslav wars and commemorations of other wars?

Conference Program

December 13th | 14:00 – Press Conference at the Center for Cultural Decontamination

Thursday, December 14th

Venue: Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, 1st Floor (Kraljice Natalije 45, Belgrade)

10:00 – 12:00 | Panel 1: Paul Celan as Paradigm of Testimonial Reading and Writing

Chair: Sanja Bojanić

10:00 – 10:30 | The Testimony of Celan’s Manuscripts and Writings, Bertrand Badiou, Ecole Normale Superieure (FR)

10:30 – 11:00 | Paul Celan’s Dialogic Influences, Sue Vice, University of Sheffield (UK)

11:00 – 11:30 | Bearing Witness – One Language to Another, Pajari Räsänen University of Helsinki (FI)

11:30 – 12:00 | Panel 1: Discussion

12:00 – 12:30 | Coffee Break

12:30 – 14:00 | Paul Celan: Testimonies of Heimat (“Ort meiner eigenen Herkunft.” Heimat, Und Ich?), Petar Bojanic IFDT (SR)

14:00 – 15:00 | Lunch Break

15:00 – 17:00 | Panel 2: Paul Celan Today

Chair: Srđan Prodanović (IFDT)

15:00 – 15:30 | The Witness as Agent: Reflections on Paul Celan and Etty Hillesum, Michael Eskin, Upper West Side Philosophers, Inc. (USA)

15:30 – 16:00 | Denken und Gedenken: Reading Celan in the 21st century, David Coury, University of Wisconsin (USA)

16:00 – 16:30 | On the Edge of Text: Traumatic Disruptions in Language, Nina Čolović Linguist Researcher, Serb National Council/ The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Zagreb and Aneta Lalić, Department for Culture, Serb National Council (HR)

16:30 – 17:00 | Panel 2: Discussion

18:00 |  Testimony: Truth or Politics – Exhibition Opening, Galerija-legat Milice Zorić i Rodoljuba Čolakovića (Rodoljuba Čolakovića 2)

Friday, December 15th

Venue: Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, 1st Floor (Kraljice Natalije 45, Belgrade)

10:00 – 12:00 | Panel 3: Yugoslav Wars and Bearing Witness

Chair: Mónica Cano (CAS SEE)

10:00 – 10:30 | Fiction and Testimony of war, Asmir Kujović, Writer, (BiH)

10:30 – 11:00 | Testimony and Genre, Lidija Dimkovska, Writer (SLO/MAC)

11:00 – 11:30 | The Neo-Dada Face of Postmodernism: Manifest Mlade Bosne by Darko Cvijetić as a Protest against the Cultural and Generalized Disabilities of Yugoslavia at the Turn of the Century, Andrijana Kos-Lajtman, University of Zagreb (HR)

11:30 – 12:00 | Panel 3: Discussion

12:00 – 12:30 | Coffee Break

12:30 -14:00 | Poetry in the Throes of Transition, Senadin Musabegović, Head of the Department of History of Art at the Faculty of Philosophy in Sarajevo

14:00 – 15:30 | Lunch

15:30 – 17:30 | Panel 4: Rhetoric, Politics and Poetry after Yugoslav Wars

Chair: Olimpa Loddo (CAS SEE)

15:30 – 16:00 | The Sword and the Shield: The Uses of Poetry at the War Crimes Trial of Radovan Karadžić, the Poet-Warrior, Jay Surdukowski, Sulloway & Hollis / Senior Fellow Humanity in Action (USA)

16:00 – 16:30 | To War or to Write, Elizabeta Šeleva, Saints Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje (MAC)

16:30 – 17:00 | The Rhetoric and Politics of Testimony in the Novels of Svetislav Basara and David Albahari, Goran Lazičić, AU Institute for Slavic Studies University of Graz (AUT)

17:00 – 17:30 | Panel 4: Discussion

19:00 |  Round table and poetry reading about the YU wars

All participants lecturing on the theme as well as David Coury

Moderator: Noa Treister (CZKD / Ucitelj neznalica)

Poets: Darko Cvijetić (BiH), Lidija Dimkovska (SLO/MAC), Andrijana Kos-Lajtman (HR), Senadin Musabegović (BiH)

Saturday, December 16th

Venue: Center for Cultural Decontamination (Birčaninova 21, Belgrade)

10:00 – 12:00 | Panel 5: Language and Representation of Yugoslav War

Chair: Davide Pala (CAS SEE)

10:00 – 10:30 | War and language, Olivera Marković-Savić, University of Priština (KM)

10:30 – 11:00 | Ethical side of the verse – from work to document, Šeherzada Džafić, University of  Bihać (BiH)

11:00 – 11:30 | The Representation of War in the Performance Arts, Darija Davidović, University of Vienna (AUT)

11:30 – 12:00 | Memory-work Research: Silence and Borders in Oral Histories, Selma Zulić Šiljak i Lejla Somun-Krupalija, independent researchers (BiH)

12:00 – 12:30 | Panel 5: Discussion

12:30 – 13:00 | Coffee Break

13:00 -14:30 | Testimony and Defense: The Poetic Word and 21st Century Violence, Cornelia Grabner – UK Lancaster University

14:30 – 16:00 | Lunch Break

16:00 – 17:00 | Not Losing the Thread. Cruel January – A Month in the Life of Paul Celan, Bertrand Badiou

16:00 – 16:30 | Coffee Break

17:30 – 19:00 | Round table about the poetry of Paul  Celan

All participants on the theme as well as Robert von Hallberg, Matthew Boswell

Moderator: Alexander Pavlović (IFDT)

20:00 |  Concert – Onaj Dječak

Sunday, December 17th

Venue: Center for Cultural Decontamination (Birčaninova 21, Belgrade)

10:00 – 12:00 | Panel 6: Conflicts in Peripheral Capitalism

Chair: Mišo Kapetanović (CAS SEE)

10:00 – 10:30 | Global Resonances and the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity in Mexico, Cornelia Grabner – Mexico, Lancaster University (UK)

10:30 – 11:00 | Testimony and U.S. Poetry, Robert von Hallberg, Claremont McKenna College (US)

11:00 – 11:30 | Constructing the “new” Yugoslav woman: a testimony/testament of emancipation at the end of WWII, Danijela Majstorović, University of Banja Luka (BiH)

11:30 – 12:00 | Panel 6: Discussion

12:00 – 12:30 | Coffee Break

12:30 -14:00 | Mahmoud Darwish- The Witness and the Testimony, Marzuq AlHalabi, Van Leer Jerusalem Institute (IL)

14:00 – 15:30 | Lunch Break

15:30 – 17:00 | Panel 7: Memorial Sites and Affects

Chair: Marco Abram (OBCT)

15:30 – 16:00 | Reading Genocide Memorial Sites in Rwanda: Eurocentrism, Sensory Secondary Witnessing and Shame, Matthew Boswell, University of Leeds (UK)

16:00 – 16:30 | Testimony in Times of Conflict: Reading Colombian Women Poets and Peace Activists, Cherilyn Elston, University of Reading (UK)

16:30 – 17:00 | Panel 7: Discussion

19:00 | Round table and poetry reading – Conflicts in Peripheral Capitalism

All participants on the theme as well as Michael Eskin and Jay Surdukowski

Moderator: Djurdja Trajkovic (IFDT)

Poets: Cherilyn Elston (UK), Marzuq Al Halabi (IL), Ramiz Huremagić (BiH), Asmir Kujović (BiH)

Other project partners are: The Ignorant Schoolmaster and his Committees, Belgrade; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade; Boem, Vienna, Austria; Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa  (OBCT Transeuropa), Rovereto, Italy; Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo; the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina; Centre for Cultural and Social Repair, Banja Luka; The Leibniz-Institute for East and Southeast European Studies, Regensburg, Germany

Further information at:

*The Conference will be held as part of the project TESTIMONY – TRUTH OR POLITICS: The Concept of Testimony in the Commemoration of the Yugoslav Wars.

Lecture and Seminar with Tamar Meisels and Margaret Moore in Belgrade

Targeted Killing with Drones? Old Arguments, New Technologies
Public Lecture by Tamar Meisels (Tel Aviv University)

Tamar Meisels is a professor of Political Theory in the department of Political Science at Tel Aviv University. She earned her D.Phil. in Politics from Oxford University in 2001. Her primary research and teaching interests include liberal nationalism, territorial rights, and the philosophical questions surrounding war and terrorism. She is the author ofTerritorial Rights (2005, 2009); The Trouble with Terror (Cambridge University Press, 2008), Contemporary Just War: Theory and Practice (Routledge, 2017), and co-editor (with Michael L. Gross) ofSoft war – the Ethics of Unarmed Conflict(Cambridge University Press, 2017).

Date and Time: Friday, October 20, 2017  | 17.00 – 20.00 pm

Venue: University of Belgrade, Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory – Kraljice Natalije 45, 11 000 Belgrade

Introduction: Srđan Prodanović (IFDT)

Moderation: Aleksanadar Fatić (IFDT)

“The question of how to contend with terrorism in keeping with our pre-existing moral and legal commitments now challenges Europe as well as Israel and the United States: how do we apply Just War Theory and International Law to asymmetrical warfare, specifically to our counter terrorism measures? What can the classic moral argument in Just and Unjust Wars teach us about contemporary targeted killings with drones?

I begin with a defense of targeted killing, arguing for the advantages of pin pointed attacks over any alternative measure available for combatting terrorism. Assuming the legitimacy of killing combatants in wartime, I argue, there is nothing wrong, and in fact much that is right, with targeting particular terrorists selected by name, as long as their assassinations can be reasonably expected to reduce terrorist hostilities rather than increase it. Subsequently, I offer some further thoughts and comments on the use of remotely piloted aircrafts to carry out targeted killings, and address the various sources for discomfort with this practice identified by Michael Walzer and others.”

– Tamar Meisels

A Political Theory of Territory
Seminar with Margaret Moore (Queen’s University, Canada)

Margaret Moore is the author of A Political Theory of Territory (OUP 2015) as well as two other books with Oxford University Press, three edited volumes, and more than 50 articles and refereed chapters. She received her doctorate in 1990 from the London School of Economics & Political Science and is a Professor in the Political Studies department at Queen’s University, Canada. She will be taking up the Olof Palme Visiting Professorship at the University of Stockholm in 2018, and is working on a book on natural resources and justice.

Date and Time: Saturday, October 21, 2017  | 15.00 – 20.00 pm

Venue: University of Belgrade, Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory – Kraljice Natalije 45, 11 000 Belgrade

Instroduction: Aleksanadar Fatić (IFDT)

Moderation: Jovan Babić (Faculty for Humanities and Social Sciences, Belgrade)

Speakers: Margaret Moore (Queen’s University), Tamar Meisels (Tel Aviv University), Adriana Zaharijević (IFDT), Marjan Ivković (IFDT), Miloš Ćipranić (IFDT), Igor Cvejić (IFDT), Bojana Simeunović (Filozofski fakultet, Beograd), Olga Nikolić (IFDT), Michal Sladeček (IFDT), Rastko Jovanov (IFDT), Jovica Pavlović (FPN), Jovan Babić (Filozofski fakultet, Beograd), Miloš Marković (Pravni fakultet, Beograd), Aleksandar Fatić (IFDT), Petar Bojanić (IFDT), Srđan Prodanović (IFDT), Mark Losoncz (IFDT).

This talk will defend a certain theory about the appropriate relationship between people, land and the state.  It will explain why her theory of territory is better than its main rivals and the implications of the theory for resource, boundary-drawing, migration, and defensive rights (war). It will elaborate on some of the central claims of her 2015 book.

Conference “Cultures in translation: a paradigm for Europe”

Culture in traduzione: un paradigma per l’Europa | Kulture u prijevodu: paradigma za Europu

 Date: 18-19 October 2017, Belgrade

Venue: Italian Culture Institute in Belgrade

Languages: English, Italian and Serbian

Translation: Simultaneous

Day 1  |  18 October 2017

9.00-10.00 | Registration of participants and welcome coffee

10.00-10.30 | Opening lecture

⌑ Petar Bojanic, IFDT (10 min)

⌑ Davide Scalmani, IIC (10 min)

⌑ Irena Fiket (10 min)

I         Translatability and Untranslatables: Examples and Reflections

10.30-12.30 | Moderator: Milos Cipranic


10.30-11.00 | Snežana Milinković, University of Belgrade, Professor of Italian literature and translator (Tradurre è impossibile ma necessario) language: Italian

11.00-11.30 | Annette Đurović, University of Belgrade (Od „Personenkennzahl“-a do „Personenkennziffer“-a ili Put između raspada dva sistema u budućnost) language: Serbian

11.30-12.00 | Deja Piletic, University of Montenegro (I dottori del triennio – doktori trogodišnjih studija? Le sfide della traduzione giurata dall’italiano in montenegrino e viceversa) language: Italian

12.00-12.30 | Discussion

12.30-14.00 | Buffet Lunch

II      Philosophy in Translation: Translation as a Philosophical Problem

14.00-17.00 | Moderator: Sasa Hrnjez


14.00-14.30 | Luca Illetterati, University of Padova, Professor of Theoretical Philosophy (Animali che traducono) language: Italian

14.30-15.00 | Adriana Zaharijevic, IFDT, Member of Association of Literary Translators of Serbia (Prevođenje filozofije: slučaj pojma agency) language: Serbian

15-15.30 | Discusssion

15.30-16.00 | Gaetano Chiurazzi, University of Torino, Professor of Theoretical Philosophy (La storicità della traduzione) language: Italian

16.00-16.30 | Zdravko Kobe, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia (Traduzione e trasformazione) language: Italian

16.30-17.00  | Discussion

20.00 | Dinner (Restaurant Savski Venac)

Day 2  |  19 October 2017
III      Translation, Interculturality and European Identity Politics

9.30-13.30 | Moderator: Burelli Carlo


9.30-10.00 | Aleksandra Mančić, Senior Research Associate – Institute for Literature and Arts, Belgrade and translator – Member of Association of Literary Translators of Serbia (Translation as Intercultural Practice and its Relevance for the Future of Europe) language: Serbian

10.00-10.30 | Silvana Borutti, Pavia, Professor of Theoretical Philosophy (L’antropologia e la traduzione come modello della comunicazione interculturale) language: Italian

10.30-11.00 | Discusssion

11.00-11.30 | Djurdja Trajkovic, IFDT (Madness of Pierre Menard: Power of the Untranslatable) language: English

11.30-12.00 | Michael Oustinoff, literary critic and theorist of translation, Professor at the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, France (Globalization and the Translation of Imaginaries)

12.00-12.30 | Olimpia Giuliana Loddo, The Center for Advanced Studies – Southeast Europe (CAS SEE) Rijeka, University of Cagliari (Translating written norms into normative pictures) language: English

12.30-13.30 | Discussion

13.30-14.30 | Buffet Lunch

IV     Actuality of Translation – Translation as Activity

14.30-17.00 | Moderator: Davide Pala


14.30-15.00 | Gojko Bozovic, Arhipelag, Beograd (Izazovi savremenog prevođenja i savremenog izdavaštva) language: Serbian

15.00-15.30 | Mirna Zelic Pokaz, Head of Croatian Language Department, DGT EC (Translating for the European Commission) language: English

15.30-16.00 | Katja Stergar, Slovenian Book Agency JAK/Traduki / Antje Contius, S. Fischer Stiftung/Traduki (Traduki’s work and implications) language: English

16.00-16.30 | Discussion

16.30-17.00 | Conclusion of the conference

Davide Scalmani, IIC

EUNIC Serbia representative (name still TBC)

20.00 | Dinner (Restaurant in Skadarlija)

Social and epistemic (in)justice

Plenary Presentation “Social and Epistemic (In)justice” – Professor Snježana Prijić-Samaržija, (Director of CAS SEE, University of Rijeka) at the 4th International Conference of the Group for Social Engagement Studies, Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory in cooperation with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, The Center for Ethics, Law and Applied Philosophy and Center for Advanced Studies, University in Rijeka Social Justice: New Perspectives, New Horizons, held in Belgrade, May 4-6, 2016.

Snjezana Prijic-Samarzija

“Truly social epistemology has in its core the assumption that socio-political issues are an additional proper concern in epistemology. The concept of knowledge, as well as the procedures of acquiring, retaining and revising our beliefs, is inevitably connected with structures of social power. The main aim of my paper is to investigate the dependence of credibility judgments about other people’s epistemic or rational authority on social identity determined by social power(lessness). I have made a distinction between three types of cases. There are cases of credibility excess and credibility deficit directed toward different social groups, which represent occurrences of epistemic injustice or the epistemically wrong and politically unjust discrimination in ascribing rational authority. There are also cases of credibility excess and credibility deficit based on belonging to a certain social identity that are not cases of epistemic injustice, but instead of epistemically and  politically justified appraisal. However, the most intriguing is the third group in which the excess or deficit of credibility are epistemically justified but politically culpable or politically justified but epistemically culpable. Finally, I have argued in favour of hybrid virtues whose substantial value is in harmonizing socio-political and epistemic aims in a consistent way.”


Social Justice in the Regional Perspective: Inequalities in the Western Balkans

Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory organised the Round table ‘Social Justice in the Regional Perspective: Inequalities in the Western Balkans’ as a part of the International Conference ‘Social Justice: New Perspectives, New Horizons’. It aimed to provide the space for discussion on the current trends and socio-political process that contribute to increasing social inequalities in the region. Participants provided their personal perspectives on the different aspects of social inequality and discussed the challenges of social policies and desirable changes in the relation to/opposed to EU integration pathways.

Vedran Džihić, Director of CAS SEE and Senior Researcher of the Institute for Political Studies, University in Vienna
Slobodan Cvejić, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade
Mihail Arandarenko, Faculty of Economics, University of Belgrade
Ivan Sekulović, Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit, Government of the Republic of Serbia
Mirna Jusić, Social Research Center Analitika, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Gezim Krasniqi, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London


Kick-off Seminar of the “Gender in the Changing Society” project

Kick-off Seminar of the Impulse – The New Cooperation Programme for Higher Education project “Gender in the Changing Society” which took place at the Faculty of Media and Communications in Belgrade.
Project leader: University of Continuing Education Krems (Danube University Krems), Department for Migration and Globalization. Project partners: Centre for Refugee and IDP studies, University of Sarajevo, Faculty of Media and Communications, University Singidunum in Belgrade and the Center for Advanced Studies Southeast Europe, University of Rijeka (CAS-SEE, UNIRI).

CAS-SEE Fellows Panel in Belgrade

CAS-SEE Fellows presented at the “Social Justice: New Perspectives, New Horizons” Conference in Belgrade (May, 4-6 2016).

Chair: Sanja Milutinović Bojanić

Dane Taleski, Dragan Tevdovski, Trajche Panov and Viktor Dimovski

Socially Impoverish and Entrap: A Strategy to Maintain a Hybrid Regime?

Some theories of democratization argue that quality of democracy and social equality are interrelated. The argument is that if the quality of democracy is higher, then inequalities will be lower because  redistribution in a democratic regime is more fair. Another argument is that if inequalities are higher, then this will increase social pressures for regime change. The idea is that people will revolt to improve their situation. The expected causal mechanism at work is that as people’s living condition worsen they will demand more democracy which, among other things, will deliver better redistribution. Why are then hybrid regimes maintained, if inequality is on the rise?

To answer the question we assume a nested research design. We first make a cross-country comparison and then we present an in-dept case study. In the cross-country comparison, we take countries in transition from East Central Europe, Southeastern Europe and Commonwealth of Independent State and Russia. We measure quality of democracy using the Freedom House Nations in Transit Report from 2005 to 2015. To measure inequality we use World Bank Data for GINI coefficients and unemployment rates. The data seems to support the assumption that if the quality of democracy is higher, then inequality is lower. However, we then take a closer look at Macedonia, a case where inequality dramatically increased, but quality of democracy did not improve. In other words, Macedonia is a case where a sharp rise of inequality was accompanied with degradation of democracy.

The country introduced tax cuts which contributed toward the rise of inequality and poverty. At the same time, the government enacted policies to target benefits to different groups in society. However, the policies did not off-set the rise of inequality and poverty, but made the people more dependent on state patronage. We trace policy development and budget spending to show how policies were designed to target small portions of benefits to different groups in society, not to adjust for inequalities, but to make the people more dependent on social benefits. While democracy was deteriorating, the citizens were entrap. The outcome of the elaborate policy design was to gradually increase the serfdom of majority of the population from the elites.

Dragan Tevdovski, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Economics, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje.

Trajche Panov is a Doctoral Candidate at the European University Institute in Florence, and lecturer at the James Madison University.

Dane Taleski, PhD, is a Fellow at Centre for Advanced Studies in Southeast Europe, University of Rijeka, and Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Southeast European Studies, University of Graz.

Ali Emre Benli

Theorizing Justice in Asylum Here and Now: A Social Choice Approach

Mainstream theorizing of justice in asylum provides guidance in addressing actual questions by first theorizing ideal principles that govern a perfectly just refugee regime and then deriving recommendation based on ideal principles. In this presentation, I first point out that mainstream theorizing is insufficient in addressing urgent and important questions such as the current situation of asylum seekers arriving at the borders of the European Union. The difficulty lies with finding an agreement on the superior principles of justice in asylum as well as regimes that may best implement them. Moreover, in the context of such disagreement, it is hard to create the political will required for their implementation. Then, I offer an alternative method based on Amartya Sen’s work on social choice approach to theorizing justice. I argue that we can reach partial agreements regarding the particular question at hand without reaching an overall agreement on the perfectly just refugee regime. The partial agreements point to ways to improve the status quo. In addition they give us sufficient moral reason not only for choosing one alternative course of action over the others, but also for demanding that others do the same.

Vladimir Unkovski-Korica

City Partnerships as Détente from Below? Twinning Bologna and Zagreb

This talk discusses a project, a work in progress, jointly developed by Dr Eloisa Betti and Dr Vladimir Unkovski-Korica, about the twinning of Bologna and Zagreb in the Cold War. Town twinning in the interwar period of the twentieth century developed as a civic notion to promote peace and a common identity in Europe, especially in France and Germany. This paper looks at a similar attempt to create links between Italian and Yugoslav cities, following the Second World War and territorial disputes following it. Nonetheless, it also argues that Cold War questions differentiated twinning from the interwar experiment. The talk therefore interrogates to what extent the links set up between Bologna and Zagreb can be seen as an early form of détente as various actors responded to the logic of a bipolar world. It also asks whether the hope of ‘détente from below’ was in fact utopian in the context of international economic inequalities, and therefore a harbinger of what we now know as globalisation.

Nuri Ali Tahir

Fighting Injustice Through Health Care Reform: How to Understand Social Injustice and Recent Reforms in American Health Care System

Social injustice and its components are being discussed more often today where state authorities are having trouble to provide equal and fair access to the citizens for certain services. In countries where there are political actors that resist to some regulations fighting injustice, the case might lead to political polarization and eventually defend the status-quo in which injustice prevails.  Recently, with its limited accesss and high costs, US health care system became the most important topic in the American public policy. Problematic access to health care services and the lack of universal health insurance resulted with almost 50 million people having unpaid bills to the hospitals. Democrats and Republicans had huge debate regarding the Affordable Health Care Act which is also known as Obama Care. While Democrats defended state subsidy to help poor people, Republicans strictly opposed this policy and government aid to help defray health insurance costs. The sutation becomes even more complex if we include other people such as legal residents and immigrant communities. This paper will focus on the chronic problems of American health care system and its accessibility by the poor people. Democrat and Republican positions will be evaluated based on their view towards equal access to the health care services by the citizens and other immigrant communities.


3rd International conference of the

Group for Social Engagement Studies, Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory

Center for Advanced Studies in Southeastern Europe (CAS – SEE), University of Rijeka

How to Act together: From Collective Engagement to Protest

Belgrade, November 19-21, 2015

The conference explored the broad issue of action – in its various sociological and philosophical traditions – and the particular question of collective engagement in its contemporary forms of protest assemblies.

The question of action and human agency has been extensively debated in social theories of the 20th century. The pendulum moved many times from perspectives emphasizing social and economic determinants to those embracing human rationality, self-reflexivity and the ability to actively construct social reality. While some of the pioneer studies of action focused predominantly on micro-contexts and behavior of actors in concrete situations, the crucial question that social theory is facing today is how to once again shift the analysis from the level of individual action to the macrostructural one, i.e. the level of the ’behaviour of the social systems’ – a shift which would escape the simple structural determinism of action and offer at least a horizon of the possible synthesis of the two analytical planes. The issues that interest us most in this respect concern the prospects of articulating social critique and reconceptualizing the ’political’ from the perspective of individual and group action.

How does one conceptualize adequately the ’everyday’ action of individuals? What is the actual potential of concrete and engaged, albeit fragmented actions in bringing about general, systemic social change? Can social theory build on the actors’ own accounts of their action as the grounds for the critique of power and domination? Finally, could we say that social theory amounts to no more than a methodologically adequate description of the potential for social critique inherent in everyday social action, or can it be an independent constituent of social engagement that brings about progressive change?

The question of action and agency was given a new impetus with recent waves of popular protests ranging from the so-called Arab spring to Occupy movements to anti-austerity protests. We want to see how these acts of collective engagement could be analyzed and interpreted within different traditions of thinking about action. Reversely, we also want to explore different impacts these new forms of engagement may have on theories of action. In particular, we wishd to incite a debate on contemporary collective protests and theory of performativity, as it is advanced in Judith Butler’s forthcoming book (Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly), where it is revised to include “concerted actions of the body”. What are the ways in which physical bodies can act in politics? How are we (and are we?) transforming and influencing the public and the politics by employing embodied ways of coming together? Finally, is precarity (precarious bodies) becoming a dominant force of protest, as Butler argues, or, on the contrary, is it the very obstacle to systemic change (tantamounting to “reserve army of labour”)?

Judith Butler12232846_1114653378569033_5656336979520064092_o11057470_1114653735235664_8496587898637289661_oAdriana Zaharijević i Judith Butler