Crisis and Ontological Insecurity

Serbia’s Anxiety over Kosovo's Secession

  • Filip Ejdus

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Filip Ejdus
    Pages 1-6
  3. Filip Ejdus
    Pages 161-167
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 169-202

About this book


This book develops a novel way of thinking about crises in world politics. By building on ontological security theory, this work conceptualises critical situations as radical disjunctions that challenge the ability of collective agents to ‘go on’. These ontological crises bring into the realm of discursive consciousness four fundamental questions related to existence, finitude, relations and autobiography. In times of crisis, collective agents such as states are particularly attached to their ontic spaces, or spatial extensions of the self that cause collective identities to appear more firm and continuous. These theoretical arguments are illustrated in a case study looking at Serbia’s anxiety over the secession of Kosovo. The author argues that Serbia’s seemingly irrational and self-harming policy vis-à-vis Kosovo can be understood as a form of ontological self-help. It is a rational pursuit of biographical continuity and a healthy sense of self in the face of an ontological crisis triggered by the secession of a province that has been constructed as the ontic space of the Serbian nation since the late 19th century. 

Filip Ejdus is Associate Professor of Security Studies in the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Belgrade, Serbia.


Serbia Kosovo foreign policy Kosovo's secession irrational foreign policy ontological crisis security studies secession of province territory eastern european politics post-Soviet eastern European history Serbian history Serbian indentity Serbian politics Kosovo declaration of independence disintegration of Yugoslavia political anxiety ontological insecurity regional security

Authors and affiliations

  • Filip Ejdus
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Political ScienceUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia

Bibliographic information