Seminar

DEANA JOVANOVIĆ

The thermodynamics of “muljavine i pizdarije”: state, infrastructure and moral economy of district heating in Bor (Serbia) and Rijeka (Croatia)

“In this seminar I provided an anthropological perspective on how citizens in two post-Yugoslav industrial towns – Bor (Serbia) and Rijeka (Croatia) – encounter and negotiate district heating. I explored how moral economy and neoliberal discourses are embedded in people’s encounter with urban material infrastructure (e.g. pipes and manhole covers) and how the state becomes reinvigorated in such encounters. I used ethnographic material I collected in Bor (2012/2013) and a new material collected in Rijeka in order to discuss post-Yugoslav legacies and possibilities for political action/agency. ”

Deana Jovanović is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies of Southeastern Europe at the University of Rijeka. Deana holds a PhD in Social Anthropology (the University of Manchester), and she researches urban, political, and environmental anthropology. Her research focuses on anticipations of futures in deindustrialised and reindustrialised urban environments across East Europe.

SEMINAR WITH FLORIAN BIEBER AND CAS SEE FELLOWS

Following his lecture at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, professor Florian Bieber, Ph.D. held a seminar on the subject of current political developments in the U.S. and Europe and the complex life of academia, in dialogue with the fourth generation of CAS SEE Fellows at the University of Rijeka.

FLORIAN BIEBER

Crisis of Democracy in Southeastern Europe

A lecture by Folrian Bieber, Ph.D., entitled “Crisis of Democracy in Southeastern Europe”, was held on Thursday, November 10, 2016 at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. The lecture was organized by Center for Advanced Studies – South East Europe in cooperation with Department of Cultural Studies at the University of Rijeka.

The talk explored if the current crisis of democracy is substantially new or whether it echoes patterns from the 1990s. In doing so, it contextulised the current crisis of democracy in the larger European context and examins the larger challenges to liberal democracy. The 1990s in the Western Balkans was characterized by authoritarian and semi-democratic regimes that combined multi-party elections with nationalist rhetoric and the privatization of the state to affiliated business interests. After regional move towards democratization in the early 2000s, the semi-authoritarian practices began re-appearing by the late 2000s and have by now firmly taking root. The talk will argue that the current semi-authoritarian systems structurally differ from those of the 1990s, yet draw on the inability of the hiatus of democratization to rupture the structural mechanisms that facilitate the return of authoritarian practices.

Florian Bieber, Ph.D., is a professor of Southeast European Studies and director of the Centre for Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz, Austria. He studied at Trinity College (USA), the University of Vienna and Central European University, and received his PhD in Political Science from the University of Vienna. Between 2001 and 2006 he worked in Belgrade (Serbia) and Sarajevo (Bosnia & Hercegovina) for the European Centre for Minority Issues. He is a Visiting Professor at the Nationalism Studies Program at Central European University and has taught at the University of Kent, Cornell University, the University of Bologna and the University of Sarajevo.

ANDREW HODGES

Social Inequalities on the Urban Periphery? Vocational Education, Ultras’ Participation and Cultures of Resistance in the Classroom

This project seeks to analyse processes of class production as manifest through educational ‘sorting’ mechanisms alongside passive/active forms of resistance present amongst pupils enrolled in vocational education (strukovne škole) on the urban periphery of Zagreb. The aim is to make a unique contribution to anthropological studies of educational ‘failure’ (Willis 1977; Evans 2008) alongside football youth subcultures, drawing on my previous work on all of these topics (Hodges and Stubbs 2016; Hodges 2016; 2015; 2014). Through semi-structured interviews and ethnographic observation, I will examine the relationship between the organised practices of a fan group (the Bad Blue Boys, hereon BBB) supporting the Zagreb based team GNK Dinamo and oppositional cultures of resistance in the classroom. These practices will be examined in the context of pupils’ life trajectories relating to the transition between school and work/unemployment, with a specific focus on class production. The urban peripheral context, where hierarchies associated with urban belonging are contested, adds a further class-related component to the study, as well as a distinctly post-Yugoslav flavor which will be contrasted and compared with the UK focused literature on class, educational failure, and fan practices.

ALFREDO SASSO

From the crisis to a “Third Yugoslavia”. The political project of Ante Marković and the Alliance of Reformist Forces

In the extensive literature on the crisis and the dissolution of the Second Yugoslavia, the role of the so-called “alternatives”, grounding on a democratic and progressive view of the Yugoslav state, has been understudied. My research project aims to explore the actor who most prominently embodied this option within institutions and the political system: Ante Marković, the federal Prime Minister from march 1989 to December 1991, and the Alliance of Reformist Forces of Yugoslavia (Savez Reformskih Snaga Jugoslavije, hereafter SRSJ), a party established by the same Marković in 1990. Through analysing public narratives, strategies and interactions of the Federal Government and of the party, the talk examines how a proposal explicitly grounded on “rational” and “negotiating” principles emerged and immediately faced structural or deliberate obstacles, as well as its own limits and faults, in a political arena increasingly polarized along ethno-national lines, within a context of extreme socio-economic crisis. In particular, the talk explores the Marković’s project in terms of its intrinsically political dimension and quest for social legitimacy, focusing on the following points: first, the attempt to reform the institutional framework through reshaping the federal jurisdictions and establishing a proper multi-party system at the state level, in order to set the bases for a “Third Yugoslavia”; second, the effort to convert into mobilized support the high political capital earned by its economic programme, inspired to an integration between market reforms and socialist elements (“new socialism”) rather than a fully neoliberal model, which had some correspondences with other 1989 transition paths in Central-Eastern Europe; third, the re-elaboration and re-animation of the founding historical and cultural principles of Yugoslav supranational unity.

NURI ALI TAHIR

Controlling the Borders of “Borderless” Europe in the Age of Migration

Recent international developments and the flow of people towards Europe made borders again a strong component of the European integration. Different reactions by European Institutions and EU member states showed that the classical idea of borders being marker of a territory and special identity became underlined through series of systematic implementations. The idea of European integration and its very basic principle “free movement” is facing a massive challenge amid the crisis of refugees and the flow of migration from the Middle East towards Western Europe. During the summer of 2015, Dublin convention and the way it was implemented by different member states, created new discussions on the shared responsibility of the free movement in Europe. While Eastern European countries were accused with discrimination and being hostile towards refugees, Western European countries tried to accept them while pushing for certain conditions and quotas. Nevertheless, distribution of refugees among the EU member states resulted with the disintegration of European solidarity in difficult times. Eventually, the initial stress was on the external borders of the EU and the role of agencies such as FRONTEX which were created to protect the borders of EU. “Controlling the borders” or “border management” became the common ground for the discussion of migrant crisis. Dr. Tahir discusses the refugee flow towards European Union along with EU’s “border management” policies by examining the situation in the Greek-Turkish border, where the flow of refugees from Syria is the highest. He shares his fieldwork experiences from the Aegean Coast of Turkey and the Greek-Turkish land border in Trace where the flow of irregular migrants is still going on. Having observed the situation before and after signing the acceptance agreement between Turkey and the EU in March 2016, Dr. Tahir also discusses the immediate results of the implementation of this agreement.

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 has been called ‘Locarno from below’, an attempt to normalise relations in a continent ravaged by a world war. Named after the Locarno Treaties of 1925, which settled borders and promised mutual non-aggression in Europe. ‘Locarno from below’ related to attempts to use town twinning to educate populations in the spirit of partnership. Since this failed to prevent another war, why did town twinning recover after the Second World War and in the thick of the Cold War? Moreover, why concentrate on Bologna and Zagreb? This talk discusses town twinning as an attempt at overcoming several emblematic problems: improving relations between two states with recent border disputes and war; improving economic links as a bridge across political divisions; internationalising ‘municipal socialism’ as a road to national power; and increasing regional autonomies using city initiatives against the strait-jacket of nation-states. 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. Finally, Dr Unkovski-Korica discusses the challenges of researching this topic on the Yugoslav side in relation to the state of archival sources.

DANE TALESKI

From Armed Boots to Polished Suits:  A Precarious Predicament for Peacebuilding and Democratization?

“One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”

– Gerald Seymour, Harry’s Game, 1975

In many of contemporary intrastate conflicts, armed groups transit to politics when the conflict ends. For example, Shin Feinn in Northern Ireland, UCK in Kosovo, NLA in Macedonia, Communist in Nepal, Renamo in Mozambique, FMLN in El Salvador, just to name a few. This phenomenon is noted in peacebuilding literature; however, there are diverging views whether it is justified or not.

The “liberal peace” theory advocates that liberal norms, institutions and practices should be exported in conflict affected societies to build sustainable peace. External frameworks of understanding are seen as being superior to local ones, which need to be amended accordingly. From that perspective the inclusion of rebels is criticized because it can lead to a “war lord democracy”. The argument is that if dubious actors are able to influence the post-conflict agenda, then it can have negative consequences for peacebuilding in the long term. Others argue that peacebuilding has to rest on the “unique, social, cultural, economic, political and religious context of each country”. Studies find that if potential “peace spoilers” are included in peace processes, then they do not return to fight, but support peacebuilding. Policy approaches are pragmatic. For example, the US Department of Defense Strategic Guidance document (2012) proposes a modest approach to peacebuilding by supporting development of local institutions. Policy studies welcome inclusive peacebuilding and open leeway for inclusion of rebels, and put primacy to “’what works’ at the local level rather than ‘who ought to’ provide services”.

Couples of decades after the inter-ethnic conflicts in Southeast Europe, many of the war-time structures are politically active and relevant. For example, Ali Ahmeti and DUI in Macedonia, Hashim Thaci and PDK and Ramush Haradinaj and AAK in Kosovo, Vojislav Stanimirovic and SDSS in Croatia, and different actors and parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is puzzling to see that parties from war-time networks dominate the minority competition in Croatia and Macedonia, and that such parties are among the main competitors in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. However, it is unclear what consequences did their inclusion in politics had on peace-building and democratization? In the paper, I present tentative results from my field work done in Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. I find that parties from war-time networks contributed to peace-building; however, they impeded democratization processes. For example, they utilized conflict’s symbolic legacies as symbolic capital and convert it into electoral capital. In addition, they support social practices to sustain their symbolic capital and contribute toward divergent understanding of the past conflict. These results point out to the dilemma whether inclusion of rebels in politics is morally justified. The ramifications of rebels’ inclusion in politics have implications for the moral culture in the society.

JÖRG H. GLEITER in conversation with CAS SEE Fellows

 Architecture and Anthropocene

On the occasion of Prof. Gleiter’s visit to Rijeka, on 21st February, 2016, and after assisting at his lecture the previous day, CAS SEE Fellows had the opportunity to engage in a rather controversial discussion on Anthropocene, or more precisely, conceptual and epistemological issues of anthropogenic transformations of the earth’s land, oceans, biosphere and climate. Would it be possible to thematize the paradigm, which the chemist Paul Crutzen labeled as the Anthropocene, not only and exclusively by geologists, climatologists or physicists, to mention only a small range of researchers of scientific backgrounds, but also by philosophers, historians, sociologists, and legal scholars?

How the Humanities are responding to the huge and important shift grasping, conceptualizing and objectifying an era of human activity which is slowly lacking the human scale of things?

 

 

 

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