Peace in the Balkans: (En)countering the European Other

  • Jasmin Ramović


The negative perception of the Balkans came with the first Western travellers and their writings about the region.1 Their views were reified by the Balkan wars, which occurred as the practice of journalism was developing in the early twentieth century. This made the information from the region more accessible to the West, therefore contributing to the perception of the Balkans as primitive and violent. The eruption of the First World War further entrenched this image. During the communist era, the region remained mostly closed to the Western world, with some of the first images from the Balkans being those of the execution of Romania’s ruling couple during the fall of communism. This, together with the violent dissolution of Yugoslavia, and the development of 24hour satellite broadcasting, enabled most of the world to watch live broadcasts from the war in the region. The images of violence coming from the Balkans advanced misperceptions of this part of Europe. As a result, the Balkans were assigned an inferior position within the European continent, and this view of the region was transferred to international intervention in the 1990s. Liberal peacebuilding, devised by Western interveners who were guided by the orientalist discourse, was applied in the intervention. This left almost no room for the inclusion of local history, culture and identity. However, things started to change with the legitimacy crisis of the liberal peacebuilding project and the growing assertiveness of local actors.


Civil Society Organize Crime Political Elite Regional Perspective International Intervention 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    See Rebecca West, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey through Yugoslavia (New York: Penguin, 1982 [1942]).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See Robert D. Kaplan, Balkan Ghosts (New York: St Martin’s Press, 1993), xxiii.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Maria Todorova, Imagining the Balkans (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 167.Google Scholar
  4. See also John R. Lampe, ‘Introduction’, in Ideologies and National Identities, eds John R. Lampe and Mark Mazower (Budapest and New York: Central European University Press, 2004), 1.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cathie Carmichael, Ethnic Cleansing in the Balkans: Nationalism and the Destruction of Tradition (London and New York: Routledge, 2003), 109.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    Alex N. Grigor’ev and Adrian Severin, ‘Debalkanizing the Balkans: A Strategy for a Sustainable Peace in Kosovo’, International Politics and Society 1 (2007): 129.Google Scholar
  7. See also Tom Gallagher, Outcast Europe: The Balkans, 1789–1989 (New York, London: Routledge, 2001), viii, x.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Warren Zimmermann, Origins of a Catastrophe (New York: Times Books, 1996), 209.Google Scholar
  9. 15.
    Roger Mac Ginty and Oliver P. Richmond, ‘The Local Turn in Peace Building: A Critical Agenda for Peace’, Third World Quarterly 34, no. 5 (2013): 769.Google Scholar
  10. 16.
    See Homi Bhabha, ‘Of Mimicry and Man: The Ambivalence of Colonial Discourse’, Discipleship 28 (1984): 125–133;Google Scholar
  11. Gayatri C. Spivak, ‘Can the Subaltern speak?’, in Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, eds C. Nelson and L. Grossberg (London: Macmillan, 1998), 24–28.Google Scholar
  12. 18.
    Jason Miklian, Kristoffer Liden and Ashild Kolas, ‘The Perils of Going Local: Liberal Peace-Building Agendas in Nepal’, Conflict Security and Development 11, no. 3 (2011): 285–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 19.
    Timothy Donais, ‘Empowerment or Imposition? Dilemmas of Local Ownership in Post-Conflict Peacebuilding Processes’, Peace & Change 34, no. 1 (2009): 7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 20.
    Oliver P. Richmond, A Post-Liberal Peace (London: Routledge, 2011), 70.Google Scholar
  15. 24.
    Jenny H. Peterson, ‘A Conceptual Unpacking of Hybridity: Accounting for Notions of Power, Politics and Progress in Analyses of Aid-Driven Interfaces’, Journal of Peacebuilding & Development 7, no. 2 (2012): 14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 25.
    Oliver P. Richmond and Audra Mitchell, ‘Introduction’, in Hybrid Forms of Peace. From Everyday Agency to Post-Liberalism, eds Oliver P. Richmond and Audra Mitchell (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 26.
    Beatrice Pouligny, ‘Civil Society and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding: Ambiguities of International Programmes Aimed at Building “New” Societies’, Security Dialogue 36, no. 4 (2005): 503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 27.
    Volker Boege, M. Anne Brown, Kevin P. Clements and Anna Nolan, ‘States Emerging from Hybrid Political Orders — Pacific Experiences’, The Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies Occasional Papers Series, Number 11, September 2008, 36.Google Scholar
  19. 28.
    Pnina Werbner, ‘The Limits of Cultural Hybridity: On Ritual Monsters, Poetic License and Contested Post-Colonial Purifications’, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 7, no. 1 (2001): 149, quoted in Peterson, ‘A Conceptual Unpacking of Hybridity’, 19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 30.
    Nora Fisher Onar and Othon Anastasakis, ‘Sustaining Engagement? On Symmetries and Asymmetries in Greek-Turkish Relations’, Southeast European and Black Sea Studies 13, no. 3 (2013): 401–406; see also Stephen Kinzer, ‘Earthquakes Help Warm Greek–Turkish Relations’, The New York Times, 13 September 1999,, accessed 20 December 2014. The two countries are also in dispute over the Aegean Sea.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 32.
    Elizabeth Pond, Endgame in the Balkans (Washington: The Brookings Institution, 2006);Google Scholar
  22. Andrew Rossos, Macedonia and the Macedonians (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2008). For alternative views on the dispute,Google Scholar
  23. see Aristotle Tziampiris, ‘Greece and the Macedonian Question: An Assessment of Recent Claims and Criticisms’, Southeast European and Black Sea Studies 11, no. 1 (2011): 69–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 34.
    See Iskra Baeva and Evgenia Kalinova, ‘Bulgarian Turks during the Transition Period’, in Bulgaria and Europe, ed. Stefanos Katsikas (London: Anthem Press, 2010).Google Scholar
  25. 35.
    See Claude Karnoouh, ‘Multiculturalism and Ethnic Relations in Transylvania’, in Romania since 1989, ed. Henry F. Carey (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2004).Google Scholar
  26. 38.
    Gjergj Erebara, ‘Albania’s Nationalist Show: All Bark and No Bite’, Balkan Insight, 25 March 2015,, accessed 29 March 2015. See also Robert C. Austin, ‘Greater Albania: The Albanian State and the Question of Kosovo’, in Ideologies and National Identities, eds John R. Lampe and Mark Mazower (Budapest and New York: Central European University Press, 2004).Google Scholar
  27. 40.
    Paul Stubbs, ‘Nationalisms, Globalization and Civil Society in Croatia and Slovenia’, Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change 19 (1996): 5.Google Scholar
  28. 41.
    Ana Devic, ‘Anti-War Initiatives and the Un-Making of Civic Identities in the Former Yugoslav Republics’, Journal of Historical Sociology 10, no. 2 (1997): 127–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 42.
    Orli Fridman, ‘“It Was Like Fighting a War with Our Own People”: Anti-War Activism in Serbia during the 1990s’, Nationalities Papers 39, no. 4 (2011): 510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 43.
    See Ioannis Armakolas, ‘The “Paradox” of Tuzla City: Explaining Non-Nationalist Local Politics during the Bosnian War’, Europe-Asia Studies 63, no. 2 (2011): 229–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 45.
    Stefanie Kappler, Local Agency and Peacebuilding — EU and International Engagement in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cyprus and South Africa (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).Google Scholar
  32. 50.
    Daria Sito-Sucic, ‘Bosnian Activists Erect “Guerrilla Memorials” to War Crime Victims’, 26 October 2013,, accessed 21 February 2015.Google Scholar
  33. 60.
    Judy Batt, ed., ‘The Western Balkans: Moving on’, Chaillot Paper No. 70, Institute for Security Studies, Paris, October 2003,, accessed 17 December 2014; International Commission on the Balkans, ‘The Balkans in Europe’s Future’, 2005.Google Scholar
  34. 62.
    Tom Gallagher, The Balkans in the New Millennium (London and New York: Routledge, 2005), 190.Google Scholar
  35. 64.
    Guilame Durand and Antonio Missiroli, ‘Absorption Capacity: Old Wine in New Bottles’, European Policy Centre, Policy brief, September 2006.Google Scholar
  36. 65.
    Anthony Czuczka and Brian Parkin, ‘Merkel Bids to Stall Putin Influence at EU’s Balkan Edge’, Bloomberg, 21 November 2014,–11–20/merkel-bids-to-stall-putin-influence-at-eu-s-balkan-edge, accessed 10 January 2015.Google Scholar
  37. 67.
    Zoran Ilievski and Dane Taleski, ‘Was the EU’s Role in Conflict Management in Macedonia a Success?’ Ethnopolitics 8, nos. 3–4 (2009): 364.Google Scholar
  38. 68.
    Andrew Rettman, ‘Slovenia Puts 172EUR Price Tag on Croatia’s EU Entry’, EU Observer, 21 September 2012,, accessed 15 December 2014.Google Scholar
  39. 70.
    Cosmina Tanasoiu, ‘Europeanization Post-Accession: Rule Adoption and National Political Elites in Romania and Bulgaria’, Southeast European and Black Sea Studies 12, no. 1 (2012): 174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Jasmin Ramović 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jasmin Ramović

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations