Category: The Balkans
Ljubica Spaskovska (University of Exeter, History, UK)
Landscapes of Triumph, Memory and Loss – on Yugoslav Supranationalism and Anti-Nationalism 1986-1991
Following a plausible observation that, “there has been a tendency to ‘read history backwards’, ignoring alternatives that did exist to the dominant nationalist discourses and policies throughout Yugoslavia’s history” (Dragovic-Soso 2008: 28), the paper seeks to deconstruct the general ethno-national paradigm in the sphere of Yugoslav studies, by plunging into a largely neglected aspect – that of the anti-nationalist stream as manifested through the initiatives and concepts of democratic reform and progressive supranationalism/Yugoslavism. It explores how the Yugoslav-oriented, pro-European, reformist/democratic and anti-nationalist tendencies before the definite dissolution of the Yugoslav federation manifested themselves. Furthermore, focusing on Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina and the various political and intellectual initiatives, such as the Izetbegovic-Gligorov platform and the Association for Yugoslav Democratic Initiative (UJDI), it reflects on why it was these two which had been the only openly pro-Yugoslav federal units before the dissolution. The paper argues that although belated, these reform and democratizing initatives constitute a crucial aspect which complements the image and the story of the last Yugoslav years.
Category: Central Europe Christina Zuber (University of Köln, Comparative Politics, Germany)
Ethnicity in Party Competition Beyond the Segmented Market.
The paper connects recent insights from the field of ethnic politics to theories of party competition to lay the groundwork for a theory of ethnicity in party competition that goes beyond the conventional assumptions of a segmented electoral market and ethnic outbidding. The author defines two potential arenas of competition, an intra- and an interethnic one and argues that the degree of segmentation of the electoral market should be treated as an empirical variable that determines whether competition or other types of social interaction prevail within arenas. The paper then introduces the notion of “nested competition” as party competition in an imperfectly segmented market where some – but not all – parties make offers across ethnic divides. This holds incentives for ethnic parties to choose moderate strategies in competition. A case study of nested competition in Vojvodina illustrates the theoretical arguments.
Category: Caucasus Russia Ukraine Kitty Lam (Michigan State University, History, US)
The Afterlives of Abandoned Homes: Russian Dachas in the Karelian Isthmus and the Finnish State, 1920-1927
This paper investigates how Finnish-Russian contacts that resulted from St. Petersburgers establishing summer homes in the Grand Duchy of Finland in the nineteenth century affected the Finnish Republic’s administrative decisions. Using archival material from the Administrative Organ for Property of Foreign Owners in Viipuri Province (Finland), which consists of property claim petitions and rulings on these claims, this paper examines the extent to which government officials considered evidence of interethnic ties in their management of foreign-owned assets. Finally, this paper evaluates the consequences of property settlement for both the Russian proprietors and the Finns they encountered. Officials’ decisions on immovable assets usually privileged state interests at Russians’ expense, but they did not necessarily bestow corresponding benefits on Finnish citizens. When government authorities attempted to transfer Russian-owned properties to the Finnish state, this process unearthed the long-term effects that decades of cross-cultural interaction had on the region.
Category: Eurasia Turkey Leyla Amzi-Erdogdular (Columbia University, History, US)
Orient in Europe: Habsburg Reinvention of the Ottoman Urban Landscape in Bosnia Herzegovina
The Ottoman urban environment in Bosnia Herzegovina became an object of the Habsburg mission in its first Oriental colony. Partly due to pragmatic diplomatic, political, and strategic interests, and partly to the fact that Bosnia Herzegovina was an important example of the Habsburg multicultural vision, the new administration did not set out to do away with all the Ottoman vestiges in the province, including its Muslim population. On the contrary, they were hoping that the Muslims in particular would play an important role in incorporating the province fully into the Habsburg Monarchy by articulating and reinventing the Muslim and the Ottoman in a specific Habsburg form. For that reason conciliatory attitude toward Muslims was expressed on different levels, including the urban face of the capital Sarajevo as the model of Habsburg success in Bosnia Herzegovina that combined Habsburg values and influences, local culture, and Ottoman heritage in a unique manner.
Category: Nationalism Sarah Jenkins (University of Aberystwyth, International Politics, UK)
Ethnicity, Violence and the ‘Immigrant Metaphor’ in Kenya
This paper explores the participation of local level actors in the violence following the 2007 elections in Kenya. Jenkins argues that the overemphasis on the strategic uses of ethnicity often underplays the role of subjective perceptions and culturally-embedded narratives in group formation and social action. She suggests that geo-spatial imaginaries in Kenya have helped to construct and maintain oppositional identities through a narrative of ethnic others as ‘immigrants’; that this metaphor is extended to conceptualising the immigrant as a guest who is expected to abide by certain rules of hospitality at times of political tension; and that this metaphor provides a framework for understanding the 2007 general elections and violent aftermath. The paper concludes by suggesting that these imagined geographies serve to fix and naturalise ethnic identities within the everyday lives of local level actors, thus challenging the postmodern emphasis on fluid, flexible and wholly situational identities.