After the devastating wars on the territory of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, in recent decades, we have observed that the (re)construction of national historiographies is also driving societies further and further apart. Despite the gloomy picture drawn in this publication, coming to terms with the region’s traumatic history could be an essential contribution to European unification. With this publication, we hope to provide an impulse to that end.
This issue of Perspectives is about women. Their rights and struggles for gender equality, which have existed for generations in the Western Balkans, are presented by authors who are themselves part of the feminist struggles.
The current state of affairs in four blocks; Gender in transition: Is the revolution female; Interventions and resistance, they analyze political participation, gender-based violence, economic relationships, ecology, activism and physicality. They show concrete practices of resistance against the dominant patriarchal male societies in the Western Balkans.
Twenty years on from the Kosovo War, the collective memory of both parties in the conflict remains burdened by myths and incontestable truths about what actually took place. The process of reconciliation and building longstanding peace is being undermined, primarily, by political elites in both countries, whose populist policies amplify the prejudices between Kosovar Albanians and Serbs. In this issue of Perspectives we aim to highlight the fact that Kosovo is not just a toponym, but a country burdened by its recent violent history, where common people are struggling to rebuild the broken societies that the conflict has left behind.
It seems that the expected transition to democracy and free market economy in ‘western Balkans’ has become a never-ending story. Societies are weak, pluralism develops slowly and with great difficulties, political elites still dominate, and economies are still dependent either on political authorities or on international companies. At the same time, we bear witness to authoritarianism, intolerance, more or less constant popular support to the same political leaders or parties who get re-elected in spite of the poor economic and social performance of their respective governments, and the widespread corruption.
Open confrontations in the post-Yugoslav wars gave the advocates of ethno-nationalist ideologies (and their users) plenty of experiences or "proof" which "confirmed" all previous fears and concerns: "they" (another ethnic collective) are "out to get us". The wartime period, as well as post-war years, have been featured by spreading narratives which concretizes the abstract and empty ideology of ethnicity.
This issue of Perspectives is dedicated to climate change mitigation in the Western Balkans, because of both the global need to limit global warming but also because mitigating climate change, as the articles show, goes hand in hand with development both in terms of economic growth and in terms of health, wellbeing and societal development.
With this context in mind, the articles before you shed light upon some of the commonly overlooked aspects of it but also point to solutions which are good starting points for any future changes in how we think of energy, development, and public good more broadly.
This issue of Perspectives deals with the phenomenon of state capture - corruption and nepotism and their impact on the rule of law and the lives of citizens in Bosnia-Herzegovina.It also highlights the practice of allocating jobs to suitable and non-competent people, the influence of politics on education, freedom of the press, nationalism as an instrument of political elites for power conservation, and other issues.
It seems as though the term citizen does not need a specific explanation. It is an inhabitant of a certain country or a city, a person with legally recognized citizenship, who pays taxes and fulfills their obligations to the community, and enjoys certain rights in return. But how often is that really the case? How many citizens in the world can say that they are true citizens according to this definition? Given the current global situation, not many. In this issue of “Perspectives”, our focus is on citizens and cities in the Western Balkans.
A hard copy of this issue you can order from our Belgrade office.
If the country goes through profound systemic changes in the political, economic and ideological sense, its dependence on an international environment can intensify considerably. This is exactly what happened in almost all post-communist states, 25 years ago. The need for internationally established models in systems that have recently introduced the development of a political pluralism and democracy as well as solutions to a functional one, and a general opening of society that goes along with the ideal of freedom, has opened the door to external influences.The articles in this issue of the Perspetcives magazine tell different stories about the current challenges of international interventions in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia.
When a country is going through deep systemic changes in its political, economic, and ideological makeup, its (inter)dependence on the international environment may intensify greatly. This took place in almost all post-communist countries 25 years ago. The need to use internationally established models in systems which are only beginning to develop political pluralism and democracy, as well as solutions for functioning rule of law, and overall opening up of society, which is accompanied by the ideal of freedom, have led to a conscious openness to external influence.
The articles compiled for this edition of Perspectives bring together different accounts of current challenges for international intervention in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia1, and Serbia.
1This edition of Perspectives was published before the Prespa Agreement