Fellows

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.

Spring 2016 CAS SEE FELLOWSHIP RECIPIENTS

The Center for Advanced Studies, Southeast Europe (CAS SEE) at the University of Rijeka is pleased to announce the recipients of the Spring 2016 CAS SEE Fellowship Awards. The purpose of the CAS SEE Fellowship Programme is to further the research or creative work in the humanities and humanistic social sciences in the Balkans. Fellows will present their work within the CAS-Collegium on a bi-weekly basis, creating an intellectually heterogeneous atmosphere and fostering a productive self-examination and even friction, which may lead to new and unexpected ideas and innovation. Please join us in congratulating the following Spring 2016 CAS SEE Fellowship Awards, University of Rijeka recipients:

Mate Nikola Tokić

Project – title: For the Homeland Ready! Émigré Croat Separatism and Transnational Political Violence in the Cold War

Dane Taleski

Project – title: Post-conflict democratization, transformation of armed groups

Nuri Ali Tahir

Project – title: Controlling the Borders of “Borderless” Europe in the Age of Migration

Ali Emre Benli

Project – title: Towards a more just Common European Asylum System: A social choice approach

Vladimir Unkovski-Korica

Project – title: City Partnerships in the Cold War: Twinning Zagreb and Bologna, 1963-1991

Alfredo Sasso

Project – title: From the crisis to a “Third Yugoslavia”. The political project of Ante Marković and the Alliance of Reformist Forces (1989-1991)

Aleksandra Djurasovic (non-resident fellow)

Project – title: Shifting Urbanity: Rethinking the Inequalities in the Cities

Giulia Carabelli (non-resident fellow)

Project – title: The Ties That (Un)Bind: Affect And Organisation In The Bosnia-Herzegovina Protests, 2014

Francesco Marone (non-resident fellow)

Project – title: The Structure And Dynamics Of Migrant Smuggling From Libya To Italy

 

 

GIULIA CARABELLI

The Ties That (un)Bind: Affect and Organisation in the Bosnia-Herzegovina Protests, 2014

“In this lecture, I will discuss the results of my research on the 2014 mass protests in Bosnia Herzegovina. Overall, I am interested in accounting for the production and articulation of these spaces of rebellion by considering their ‘affective atmospheres’, which means that I am curious about the effects that affect have in the production of socio-spatial relations. In particular, I look at rage, anger, but especially hope as a means to understand how spaces of “togetherness” came to be created during the protests in a country where both “being together” and “occupying public spaces” represent major political and social issues in their own right. I will discuss the extent to which becoming hopeful is also a reason for disappointment, discontent and for the creation of fractures within the movement.

Overall, my goal is to discuss the potential of looking at affects such as hope to account for and explore grassroots protests and radical political movements: how they come into being, how they become movements for creating new spaces of togetherness, but also divisions and fractures; to create and sustain, but also destroy infrastructures of togetherness. Hope begins from encounters and it brings about the question of how new possibilities can be born from these encounters, which involve multiple processes of mediation, negotiation, explanation. And yet, these sites of hope, such as the protests in Bosnia, are the potential signposts that an alternative exists. As Helena Flam argues, we should pay attention to the ways in which protest movements attempt to re-socialise people through (subversive) emotions in order to show that to be angry and to voice concerns is fair and legitimate.”

– Giulia Carabelli

ALEKSANDRA DJURASOVIC

Rethinking large-scale development projects in Belgrade and Zagreb

There is one general question that motivated this research: To what extent global economic restructuring and neoliberalization influence urban planning processes in transitional cities? The main aim of this research is to look into the process of urban transformation in two different institutional contexts in order to deepen our understanding of how decision-making processes in the post-socialist Balkan countries have shifted from control-oriented regulation to planning approaches more open to speculative development. In order to observe and define transformative processes the research looks into two similar typologies of transition: the post socialist Serbia and Croatia. The main unit of analysis is the city and to be more specific, the large-scale projects in Belgrade and Zagreb, ‘Belgrade on Water’ and ‘Zagreb on Sava’, in order to analyze different urban transition processes in reaction to the general neoliberal trends. This research focuses on large-scale projects in order to understand the inner-relations between diverse public and private sector actors, and views large scale urban development projects as representative of neoliberal manifestations and interactions of diverse actors in the cities across the globe. The cases ‘Belgrade on Water’ and “Zagreb on Water’ in many ways exemplify new flexible urban development approaches.  While the ‘mega’ development project in Zagreb plans to incorporate different land uses (taking on a more ecological approach, which seems to be completely missing from the case in Belgrade) and involves different actors, both projects are similar in that they represent ambiguous and controversial waterfront development projects that continue to raise questions about flexible governance approaches, ownership, social inclusion, environmental risks, etc. The research uses qualitative research methods, mainly following a hermeneutic approach. The data was gathered through semi-structured interviews and documentary material collection – scholarly research, video footage, and local newspaper media. By using urban transition as the main focus of analysis, the research aims to implement a new methodology of analyzing transition by using path-analysis approach in these two cities.

PIRO REXHEPI

Unmapping Islam in Eastern Europe: Periodization and Muslim Subjectivities in the Balkans

This article challenges the fixed spatial and temporal disconguities of the borders between East/West and Europe/Islam that contribute to the physical and discursive partition of Balkan Muslims from the larger Muslim world. It examines the works of twentieth century Islamic scholars and activists, particularly women and underprivileged minorities, such as Melika Salihbegović, Hidajeta Mirojević, Safija Šiljak, Sheikh Haxhi Qamili, Muhammad Nasir-ud-Din al-Albani, Vehbi Sulejman Gavoçi, and Abdul-Kader Aranauti, whose intellectual labor has traversed the East/West, Ottoman/post-Ottoman, and Communist/post-Communist discontiguities. Examining Muslim histories in Eastern Europe beyond the confines of these spatiotemporalites, opens up multiple perspectives on past and present political struggles of Muslims in Eastern Europe, allowing us to explore histories and subjectivities of Muslims who saw their lived experiences not in relation to Europe but as constitutive part of the Muslim world. Their perspectives and insistence on an Islamic way of life provide an alternative reading of the history of Muslims in the Balkans, not isolated by their immediate surroundings, but as members of a transnational struggle against colonialism throughout the twentieth century. Through an analysis of their work, this article contests research on Islam in Eastern Europe that, relying on post-ottoman and post-socialist forward-moving temporalities, suggest that following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and during the socialist period, Muslims in Eastern Europe were isolated from the rest of the Ummah and attached to European geotemporalities. The choice for personalities on the fringes of their own communities allows us to deconstruct anti-colonial and post-socialist nationalist narratives that have been dominated by privileged men.

La grande Trieste

CAS fellows took their first trip in the region on March 16th to Trieste. They visited the exhibition La grande Trieste 1891 – 1914. Rittrato di una citta, that is being held in the museum Salone degli incanti in the city center. In many ways, Trieste is too “vast” a city to be summarized in a limited space, even as huge as that of the old Pescheria Centrale – Main Fish Market. This exhibition is just one of many ways in which Trieste can be interpreted and examined to understand its greatness―states the exhibition introduction, therefore we are broadcasting just a fragment, captured in a photograph.