Democratization, Europeanization, Western Balkans

25th – 26th November 2010, Vienna

Call for: papers
Deadline: 15/09/2010

University of Vienna, Institute of Political Science Research Platform POTREBA and Karl-Franzens University of Graz Centre for Southeast European Studies organise International Conference: Democratization and Europeanization in the Western Balkans: Ethnic Diversity as a Factor of Democratic Consolidation.

The effects of ethnic diversity on democracy have been a subject of democratic theory since John Stuart Mill. The Western Balkans have served as an important example for the challenges of the complex and often antagonistic interrelationship between democracy and ethnicity. Due to the ethno-nationalist features of the democratic transformation and the incomplete nation-state building processes the region has become a “showpiece” on how “playing the ethnic card” may complicate democratization.

Today, the Western Balkans have adopted international standards of minority protection and are on their way towards European integration. Yet, ethno-nationalist discourses remain a threat to democratic stability in the region, preserving a sense of conflict.

Objectives of the conference
In order to explore this relationship, this conference aims at reflecting on the development of democracy and ethnicity in the Western Balkans over the last decade, exploring patterns of inclusion and exclusion of the “ethnic other”, the legal protection of minorities and the implementation of minority rights, external dimension of democratisation (Europeanisation) and its effect on the situation of national minorities.

There are three panels at the conference (focusing on three themes):

1. Forms and Challenges of Minority Inclusion/Exclusion in Plural Societies
Looking at the theoretical framework of “dealing with ethnic difference”, drawing on examples of the inclusion/exclusion of religious, ethnic or national minorities in the Western Balkans, analysing the discrepancies between the de jure provisions and de facto implementation of minority protection and the forms of behaviour by the state and ethnic majority towards the “ethnic other”, embedding it into considerations on the processes of nation-state building and post-conflict societies.

2.  Exclusion/Inclusion of the “other” during Europeanization
Looking and comparing examples of how the protection of minority rights and the inclusion/exclusion of “others” is evolving during the EU accession process, how EU-conditionality supports and/or obstructs the situation of national minorities, what form of external demands internal actors in dealing with “ethnic difference” exist in the context of Europeanization, what the strategies and practices used by the internal actors as a reaction to external demands are and how external institutions (in this case the EU) may pressure and react to strategies and practices of the internal actors.

3. Case studies: Political Representation and Socioeconomic Situation of National Minorities in the Western Balkans
Looking at case studies from the Western Balkans on how challenges of democratization impact national minorities, how the relationship between political, socioeconomic elites and the citizenry is reflected in the situation of minorities, the positioning of minorities in the national political context, forms and challenges of political representation of minorities and the socio-economic situation of national minorities.

Bursaries will be available to selected paper givers, though these might not cover the full cost of travel and accommodation.

Submission procedure
Organizers would like to invite you to submit paper-proposal of max. 800 words, indicating the preferred panel, and a short (150-200 word) bio via email to [email protected]

The submission deadline is 15 September 2010. Contributors will be notified by the end of September.

Organizing Committee: Prof. Dieter Segert, Prof. Florian Bieber, Dr. Vedran Dzihic, Angela Wieser

Institute of Political Science Research Platform POTREBA
Centre for Southeast European Studies, Karl-Franzens University of Graz

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