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 


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© Jasmin Ramović 2016

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  • Jasmin Ramović

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