Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 8

Search results for: Balkans

8 Stereotypes in Perception of Otherness in Balkans Literature from the Last Part of 20ᵗʰ Century

Authors: Magdalena Kostova-Panayotova, Neda-Maria Panayotova


The article is focused on a problem that tends to be extremely characteristic and essential to European literature – the relations between the Balkan Peninsula and Europe and the stereotypes the Balkans evoke – a melting pot, a powder keg, a bridge, a crossroads, along with other negative definitions. The stereotypes and visions are examined as the layered images of a particular nation. The work deals with the Balkan writers’ way of confronting stereotypes by reversing the image of the ‘dark’ Balkans and the ‘bright’ Europe and thus establishing the Balkans as a place of beauty, music, and poetry. In many aspects, the European image of the Balkans (the so-called Balkanism) is comparable to the European attitude to the Orient (the so-called Orientalism). On the basis of the analysis of specific texts by Balkan authors, the article proves that the identity of the person of the late 20th and early 21st century is something individual and much more complicated than a patriotic self-definition because the identity of the contemporary person is multilayered. It is not flattering to be a bridge, a crossroads or a corner. However, a person is a creature of transition. Our idea demonstrates that the state of transition always brings both weakness and strength – it is the Balkans that connect Europe to the world.

Keywords: image, Slavs, Balkans, identity of the modern Balkan person

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7 Commodifying Things Past: Comparative Study of Heritage Tourism Practices in Montenegro and Serbia

Authors: Jovana Vukcevic, Sanja Pekovic, Djurdjica Perovic, Tatjana Stanovcic


This paper presents a critical inquiry into the role of uncomfortable heritage in nation branding with the particular focus on the specificities of the politics of memory, forgetting and revisionism in the post-communist post-Yugoslavia. It addresses legacies of unwanted, ambivalent or unacknowledged past and different strategies employed by the former-Yugoslav states and private actors in “rebranding” their heritage, ensuring its preservation, but re-contextualizing the narrative of the past through contemporary tourism practices. It questions the interplay between nostalgia, heritage and market, and the role of heritage in polishing the history of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes in the Balkans. It argues that in post-socialist Yugoslavia, the necessity to limit correlations with former ideology and the use of the commercial brush in shaping a marketable version of the past instigated the emergence of the profit-oriented heritage practices. Building on that argument, the paper addresses these issues as “commodification” and “disneyfication” of Balkans’ ambivalent heritage, contributing to the analysis of changing forms of memorialisation and heritagization practices in Europe. It questions the process of ‘coming to terms with the past’ through marketable forms of heritage tourism, fetching the boundary between market-driven nostalgia and state-imposed heritage policies. In order to analyse plurality of ways of dealing with controversial, ambivalent and unwanted heritage of dictatorships in the Balkans, the paper considers two prominent examples of heritage commodification in Serbia and Montenegro, and the re-appropriations of those narratives for the nation branding purposes. The first one is the story of the Tito’s Blue Train, the landmark of the socialist past and the symbol of Yugoslavia which has nowadays being used for birthday parties and marriage celebrations, while the second emphasises the unusual business arrangement turning the fortress Mamula, former concentration camp through the Second World War, into a luxurious Mediterranean resort. Questioning how the ‘uneasy’ past was acknowledged and embedded into the official heritage institutions and tourism practices, study examines the changing relation towards the legacies of dictatorships, inviting us to rethink the economic models of the things past. Analysis of these processes should contribute to better understanding of the new mnemonics strategies and (converging?) ways of ‘doing’ past in Europe.

Keywords: commodification, heritage tourism, totalitarianism, Serbia, Montenegro

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6 Biopolitical Border Imagery during the European Migrant Crisis: A Comparative Discourse Analysis between Mediterranean Europe and the Balkans

Authors: Mira Kaneva


The ongoing migration crisis polemic opens up the debate to the ambivalent essence of borders due to both the legality and legitimacy of the displacement of vast masses of people across the European continent. In neoliberal terms, migration is seen as an economic opportunity, or, on the opposite, as a social disparity; in realist terms, it is regarded as a security threat that calls for mobilization; from a critical standpoint, it is a matter of discourse on democratic governance. This paper sets the objective of analyzing borders through the Foucauldian prism of biopolitics. It aims at defining the specifics of the management of the human body by producing both the irregular migrant as a subject (but prevalently as an object in the discourse) and the political subjectivity by exercising state power in repressive practices, including hate speech. The study relies on the conceptual framework of Bigo, Agamben, Huysmans, among others, and applies the methodology of qualitative comparative analysis between the cases of borders (fences, enclaves, camps and other forms of abnormal spatiality) in Italy, Spain, Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Bulgaria. The paper thus tries to throw light on these cross- and intra-regional contexts that share certain similarities and differences. It tries to argue that the governmentality of the masses of refugees and economic immigrants through the speech acts of their exclusion leads to a temporary populist backlash; a tentative finding is that the status-quo in terms of social and economic measures remains relatively balanced, whereas, values such as freedom, openness, and tolerance are consecutively marginalized.

Keywords: Balkans, biopolitical borders, cross- and intra-regional discourse analysis, irregular migration, Mediterranean Europe, securitization vs. humanitarianism

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5 Academic Knowledge Transfer Units in the Western Balkans: Building Service Capacity and Shaping the Business Model

Authors: Andrea Bikfalvi, Josep Llach, Ferran Lazaro, Bojan Jovanovski


Due to the continuous need to foster university-business cooperation in both developed and developing countries, some higher education institutions face the challenge of designing, piloting, operating, and consolidating knowledge and technology transfer units. University-business cooperation has different maturity stages worldwide, with some higher education institutions excelling in these practices, but with lots of others that could be qualified as intermediate, or even some situated at the very beginning of their knowledge transfer adventure. These latter face the imminent necessity to formally create the technology transfer unit and to draw its roadmap. The complexity of this operation is due to various aspects that need to align and coordinate, including a major change in mission, vision, structure, priorities, and operations. Qualitative in approach, this study presents 5 case studies, consisting of higher education institutions located in the Western Balkans – 2 in Albania, 2 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1 in Montenegro- fully immersed in the entrepreneurial journey of creating their knowledge and technology transfer unit. The empirical evidence is developed in a pan-European project, illustratively called KnowHub (reconnecting universities and enterprises to unleash regional innovation and entrepreneurial activity), which is being implemented in three countries and has resulted in at least 15 pilot cooperation agreements between academia and business. Based on a peer-mentoring approach including more experimented and more mature technology transfer models of European partners located in Spain, Finland, and Austria, a series of initial lessons learned are already available. The findings show that each unit developed its tailor-made approach to engage with internal and external stakeholders, offer value to the academic staff, students, as well as business partners. The latest technology underpinning KnowHub services and institutional commitment are found to be key success factors. Although specific strategies and plans differ, they are based on a general strategy jointly developed and based on common tools and methods of strategic planning and business modelling. The main output consists of providing good practice for designing, piloting, and initial operations of units aiming to fully valorise knowledge and expertise available in academia. Policymakers can also find valuable hints on key aspects considered vital for initial operations. The value of this contribution is its focus on the intersection of three perspectives (service orientation, organisational innovation, business model) since previous research has only relied on a single topic or dual approaches, most frequently in the business context and less frequently in higher education.

Keywords: business model, capacity building, entrepreneurial education, knowledge transfer

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4 China's BRI and Germany's Baghdad Railroad – a Realist Analysis of Hegemonic Conflict and the Circumvention of Maritime Power

Authors: Kamen Kirov


In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Britain dominated global trade and finance in large part due to its maritime superiority. Germany, a land power, sought to undermine Britain’s position as the primary hegemon but ultimately could not challenge Britain’s maritime position or capabilities. This drove Germany to seek alternative strategies to weaken Britain’s position. Notably, it pushed Germany to create a reliable overland link through the Balkans to the Middle East via railroad. This article will seek to draw parallels between the German-British hegemonic conflict of the early 20th century and the Chinese-American hegemonic conflict taking place today using both secondary historical sources and current scholarly discussions of the changing international sphere. In doing so, it will provide useful insights into how China might attempt to outflank American power. The article will demonstrate that in many ways, the strategic positions and approaches of the early-20th century Germany and modern China are similar. Both countries were faced with a vastly superior foe with respect to maritime and economic power, and in both cases, their response was to undermine their rival hegemon by creating new overland infrastructure. Furthermore, in both cases, a major goal of creating new overland links was to gain further access to and control over Middle Eastern energy markets. It seems that in the modern day, China is conducting such a policy on a much grander scale than Germany did in the early 20th century—which may result in negative consequences for the US strategic position.

Keywords: belt and road Initiative, hegemonic conflict, maritime power, realism

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3 Cultural Heritage in Rural Areas: Added Value for Agro-Tourism Development

Authors: Djurdjica Perovic, Sanja Pekovic, Tatjana Stanovcic, Jovana Vukcevic


Tourism development in rural areas calls for a discussion of strategies that would attract more tourists. Several scholars argue that rural areas may become more attractive to tourists by leveraging their cultural heritage. The present paper explores the development of sustainable heritage tourism practices in transitional societies of the Western Balkans, specifically targeting Montenegrin rural areas. It addresses the sustainable tourism as a shift in business paradigm, enhancing the centrality of the host community, fostering the encounters with local culture, customs and heritage and minimizing the environmental and social impact. Disseminating part of the results of the interdisciplinary KATUN project, the paper explores the diversification of economic activities related to the cultural heritage of katuns (temporary settlements in Montenegrin mountainous regions where the agricultural households stay with livestock during the summer season) through sustainable agro-tourism. It addresses the role of heritage tourism in creating more dynamic economy of under-developed mountain areas, new employment opportunities, sources of income for the local community and more balanced regional development, all based on the principle of sustainability. Based on the substantial field research (including interviews with over 50 households and tourists, as well as the number of stakeholders such as relevant Ministries, business communities and media representatives), the paper analyses the strategies employed in raising the awareness and katun-sensitivity of both national and international tourists and stimulating their interest in sustainable agriculture, rural tourism and cultural heritage of Montenegrin mountain regions. Studying the phenomena of responsible tourism and tourists’ consumerist consciousness in Montenegro through development of katuns should allow evaluating stages of sustainability and cultural heritage awareness, closely intertwined with the EU integration processes in the country. Offering deeper insight at the relationship between rural tourism, sustainable agriculture and cultural heritage, the paper aims to understand if cultural heritage of the area is valuable for agro-tourism development and in which context.

Keywords: heritage tourism, sustainable tourism, added value, Montenegro

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2 ISIS Women Recruitment in Spain and De-Radicalization Programs in Prisons

Authors: Inmaculada Yuste Martinez


Since July 5, 2014, Abubaker al Bagdadi, leader of the Islamic State since 2010 climbed the pulpit of the Great Mosque of Al Nuri of Mosul and proclaimed the Caliphate, the number of fighters who have travelled to Syria to join the Caliphate has increased as never before. Although it is true that the phenomenon of foreign fighters is not a new phenomenon, as it occurred after the Spanish Civil War, Republicans from Ireland and the conflict of the Balkans among others, it is highly relevant the fact that in this case, it has reached figures unknown in Europe until now. The approval of the resolution 2178 (2014) of the Security Council, foreign terrorist fighters placed the subject a priority position on the International agenda. The available data allow us to affirm that women have increasingly assumed operative functions in jihadist terrorism and in the activities linked to it in the development of attacks in the European Union, including minors and young adults. In the case of Spain, one in four of the detainees in 2016 were women, a significant increase compared to 2015. This contrasts with the fact that until 2014 no woman had been prosecuted in Spain for terrorist activities of a jihadist nature. It is fundamental when we talk about the prevention of radicalization and counterterrorism that we do not underestimate the potential threat to the security of countries like Spain that women from the West can assume to the global jihadist movement. This work aims to deepen the radicalization processes of these women and their profiles influencing the female inmate population. It also wants to focus on the importance of creating de-radicalization programs for these inmates since women are a crucial element in radicalization processes. A special focus it is made on young radicalized female inmate population as this target group is the most recoverable and on which it would result more fruitful to intervene. De-radicalization programs must also be designed to fit their profiles and circumstances; a sensitive environment will be prisons and juvenile centers, areas that until now had been unrelated to this problem and which are already hosting the first convicted in judicial offices in Spanish territory. A qualitative research and an empirical and analytical method has been implemented in this work, focused on the cases that took place in Spain of young women and the imaginary that the Islamic State uses for the processes of radicalization for this target group and how it does not fit with their real role in the Jihad, as opposed to other movements in which women do have a real and active role in the armed conflict as YPJ do it as a part of the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party of Syria.

Keywords: caliphate, de-radicalization, foreign fighter, gender perspective, ISIS, jihadism, recruitment

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1 On the Road towards Effective Administrative Justice in Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo: Common Challenges and Problems

Authors: Arlinda Memetaj


A sound system of administrative justice represents a vital element of democratic governance. The proper control of public administration consists not only of a sound civil service framework and legislative oversight, but empowerment of the public and courts to hold public officials accountable for their decision-making through the application of fair administrative procedural rules and the use of appropriate administrative appeals processes and judicial review. The establishment of both effective public administration and administrative justice system has been for a long period of time among the most ‘important and urgent’ final strategic objectives of almost any country in the Balkans region, including Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo. Closely related to this is their common strategic goal to enter the membership in the European Union, which requires fulfilling of many criteria and standards as incorporated in EU acquis communautaire. The latter is presently done with the framework of the Stabilization and Association Agreement which each of these countries has concluded with the EU accordingly. To above aims, each of the three countries has so far adopted a huge series of legislative and strategic documents related to any aspects of their individual administrative justice system. ‘Changes and reforms’ in this field have been thus the most frequent terms being used in any of these countries. The three countries have already established their own national administrative judiciary, while permanently amending their laws on the general administrative procedure introducing thereby considerable innovations concerned. National administrative courts are expected to have crucial important role within the broader judiciary systems-related reforms of these countries; they are designed to check the legality of decisions of the state administration with the aim to guarantee an effective protection of human rights and legitimate interests of private persons through a regular, conform, fast and reasonable judicial administrative process. Further improvements in this field are presently an integral crucial part of all the relevant national strategic documents including the ones on judiciary reform and public administration reform, as adopted by each of the three countries; those strategic documents are designed among others to provide effective protection of their citizens` rights` of administrative justice. On the basis of the later, the paper finally is aimed at highlighting selective common challenges and problems of the three countries on their European road, while claiming (among others) that the current status quo situation in each of them may be overcome only if there is a proper implementation of the administrative courts decisions and a far stricter international monitoring process thereof. A new approach and strong political commitment from the highest political leadership is thus absolutely needed to ensure the principles of transparency, accountability and merit in public administration. The main methods used in this paper include the analytical and comparative ones due to the very character of the paper itself.

Keywords: administrative courts , administrative justice, administrative procedure, benefit, effective administrative justice, human rights, implementation, monitoring, reform

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