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Crisis Governance in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia

The Study of Floods in 2014

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Edited By Vedran Džihić and Magdalena Solska

This comparative study at hand has been the result of a two-year research project on floods in 2014 in the Western Balkans engaging eight research teams from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia. Representing quite different disciplines, the authors of this volume have analysed diverse aspects of the crisis governance and its ramifications. This publication’s goals are twofold. Firstly, it pins down the characteristics of the crisis responses during the floods of 2014 in three affected countries, preconditioned by the existing institutions, crisis leadership, the role of media and the social capital as well as the foreign financial aid. On the other hand, through the lenses of the crisis governance we conclude on the state capacities and the nature of political regime of the cases under study. The flood megacrisis did not constitute a "window of opportunity" for individual or institutional learning. On the contrary, it did unveil some authoritarian tendencies in Serbia and Bosnia, and thus stalled the hitherto ongoing democratization process.

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4. Media and Floods under Crisis in Serbia (Snježana Milivojević / Bojana Barlovac)

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SNJEŽANA MILIVOJEVIĆ AND BOJANA BARLOVAC

4.  Media and Floods under Crisis in Serbia

During the third week of May in 2014, Serbia was hit by heavy rains, which led to devastating floods. This chapter analyses a complex relationship between media and crisis in Serbia using the case of the spring floods. The aim of the chapter is to explore how the floods were constructed as crisis by and through the media. With the analytical tools of mediatization theory, the analysis focuses on how floods were represented through interplay of media and political logic. Since mediatized techniques can influence the course of the event and its outcome, the chapter also aims to explore how the authorities used the media to capitalize on the “disaster shock” and to silence possible dissenting views.

Keywords: crisis, floods, governance, media, mediatization

Introduction

If horror is banalized, it is not because we see too many images of it. We do not see too many sufferings on the screen. But we do see too many nameless bodies, too many bodies incapable of returning the gaze that we direct at them, too many bodies that are an object of speech without themselves having a chance to speak. (Jacques Ranciere, 2009, p. 96)

The floods that hit Serbia in May 2014 were the most significant environmental disaster in recent Serbian history. They affected some 1.6 million people living in 38 municipalities in...

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