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Meaningful reform in the Western Balkans

Between formal institutions and informal practices


Edited By Eric Gordy and Adnan Efendic

This book contains collection of articles which provide policy implications related to the problem of achieving substantive reform on the basis of harmonising legislation in Western Balkan (WB) countries with the standards of the European Union (EU). While WB states have generally been successful in adopting legal reforms that make up a part of EU conditionality, many laws remain unenforced, amounting to "empty shells." In the space between law, as it is written, and practices as they are engaged in everyday life, exists a gap, characterized by informality, clientelism, and exchange often based on strong tie relationships. Some instances of informality undermine the goal of establishing rule law and contribute to corruption. Others offer valuable solutions to persistent social problems or represent traditional vehicles of social cohesion that should be promoted. The recommendations in this book seek to address both constructive and damaging instances of informality, and to identify policy measures that can help to harmonise not only legislation, but existing informal practices on the ground.

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Notes on Contributors

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Notes on Contributors

JOVAN BLIZNAKOVSKI is a PhD candidate in political studies at the Network for the Advancement of Social and Political Studies (NASP), based at the Department of Social and Political Sciences of the University of Milan; and associate researcher at the Institute for Democracy ‘Societas Civilis’ Skopje (IDSCS). He holds an M.Sc. in political science from the University of Ljubljana. His current research is focused on the sub-variations of political clientelism in the societies of the Western Balkan. In the past, he has published academic and policy studies on the language policy towards linguistic minorities in Macedonia. In the period 2014–2016 he served as programme director of IDSCS.

IVAN DAMJAKOVSKI is an Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science, Faculty of Law, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje. His research interests include Europeanisation of candidate countries, EU enlargement, Eu integration theory, political theory and ethnic identity politics.

ADNAN EFENDIC is Associate Professor of Economics at the School of Economics and Business, University of Sarajevo. He is an affiliate fellow at CERGE-EI, Prague and CISAR, Sarajevo. His current research interest is focused on the formal and informal institutions in the Western Balkan region. He has published number of papers and several books with internationally recognized publishers.

BORJAN GJUZELOV is a PhD candidate at Queen Mary University of London and associate researcher at the Institute for Democracy ‘Socetas Civilis’ Skopje (IDSCS). His main academic and professional interests are related to democratization of the post-socialist societies, good governance and informality. He has authored several articles and policy analyses on social capital, anticorruption and participatory policy-making. Gjuzelov holds MA in European Studies from the University of Flensburg, Germany and BA in Political Studies from the “Ss Cyril and Methodius” University in Skopje, Macedonia. ← 203 | 204 →

ERIC GORDY is Professor of Political and Cultural Sociology at the School for Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London. His research concentrates on Southeast Europe, especially the states of the former Yugoslavia. His first book, The Culture of Power in Serbia: Nationalism and the Destruction of Alternatives, represented an effort to offer an understanding of nationalist-authoritarian government and its staying power that concentrated not on political leaders and preconceived “ethnic” categories, but on the experience of everyday life, blockage and distraction under conditions of constraint. This bottom-up approach to large-scale political events was developed further in Guilt, Responsibility and Denial: The Past at Stake in Post-Milošević Serbia, which explored ways in which dialogue about public memory and understanding of the wars of the 1990s both moved forward and met obstacles, and both efforts at opening discussions of memory and efforts at denial were transformed in response to ongoing events. He is currently coordinator and principal investigator for the research project INFORM: Closing the Gap Between Formal and Informal Institutions in the Balkans.

ARMANDA HYSA is an anthropologist, project leader of the Center for Historcial and Anthropological Research (CHAR) team for the Horizon 2020 project Closing the gap between formal and informal institutions in the Balkans (INFORM). She is co-founder of CHAR. She has been a researcher at the Department of Ethnology, Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Study of Arts, Centre of Albanological Studies. From October 2012 to October 2014 she has an Alexander Nash Fellow in Albanian Studies, at School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London. Her research interests include also urban Ottoman heritage, with specific focus on Balkan old bazaars, identity and ethnic relations in Macedonia, and interethnic relations between Serbs and Albanians, with specific focus on the recent phenomenon of mixed marriages between Serbian men of Southern Serbia with Albanian women of Northern Albania.

GENTIANA KERA is a historian at the Department of History, Faculty of History and Philology, University of Tirana and co-founder of the Center for Historical and Anthropological Research, Albania. She is co-editor of the volume Albania. Family, Society and Culture in the 20th century (2012), together with Enriketa Papa-Pandelejmoni and Andreas Hemmung. Her ← 204 | 205 → research interests include demography and history of the family, social and urban history of Southeast Europe and contemporary history of Albania.

RUDI KLANJŠEK holds a PhD in Sociology and works as an associate professor at the Department of Sociology and as a researcher at the Center for the Study of Post-Socialist Societies (CePSS), University of Maribor, Slovenia. He specializes in cross-cultural studies in the area of values, deviance, religiosity, poverty, inequality and economic development, focusing on countries that transitioned (or are still in transition) from socialism to market economy and democracy.

MARKO KMEZIĆ is an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz (Austria). He is the author of “EU Rule of Law Promotion: Judiciary Reform in the Western Balkans” (Routledge: 2016), and co-editor of “Stagnation and Drift in the Western Balkans” (Peter Lang: 2013) and “The Europeanisation of the Western Balkans: A Failure of EU Conditionality?” (Palgrave: 2018). His works are focused on Europeanisation, rule of law, democratisation, and minority rights.

VJOLLCA KRASNIQI is a sociologist. She teaches at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Prishtina. She is the chair of the University Programme for Gender Studies and Research. She holds a PhD from the University of Ljubljana, an MSc degree in Gender, Development and Globalization from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and a BA degree in Philosophy and Sociology from the University of Prishtina. Her research interests are gender, nation and collective memory, state-building, peacebuilding and post-war reconstruction. She has published numerous articles, book chapters and reports on these issues, including War, Law, and Justice in Kosovo in International Criminal Tribunals as Actors of Domestic Change: The Impact on Institutional Reform edited by K. Bachmann et al. (forthcoming 2018); The Topography of the Construction of the Nation in Kosovo in Strategies of Symbolic Nation-Building in South Eastern Europe edited by P. Kolstø (2014); Another Report on the Banality of Evil: The Cultural Politics of the Milošević Trail in Kosovo, in The Milošević Trial: An Autopsy edited by T. Waters (2013); and Imagery, Gender and Power: The Politics of Representation in Post-War Kosova in Feminist Review (2007). ← 205 | 206 →

ISMET KUMALIC is a Professor of International finance and EU Monetary policy at PIN University, Banja Luka. He has rich experience in both the private and governmental sector, working as director of several banks and private-owned companies and governor of Una-Sana Canton. He authored and co-authored over 20 papers and books in various fields of economic science – from banking, through management to fiscal policy. He was a team leader and senior researcher at Swiss National Science Foundation funded research project (SCOPES research grant). His research interests include social economy, institutional economics, and economic development.

MIRAN LAVRIČ holds a PhD in Sociology and teaches social research methods and sociology of religion at the University of Maribor. He has worked in a number of research projects focusing on the post-socialist countries of Central and Southeastern Europe, ranging from youth studies and religious studies to areas such as social security or social values and attitudes. His academic work has been published in the following academic journals like: Rationality and society, Politics and religion, Field methods, European journal of social psychology, Journal of church and state, Journal of religion and health, Journal for the scientific study of religion, Journal of comparative family studies, and Child indicators research.

ALENA LEDENEVA is Professor of Politics and Society at the University College London School of Slavonic and East European Studies, United Kingdom. She is an internationally renowned expert on informality and governance in Russia. Her latest co-edited volumes include Innovations in Corruption Studies (2017) and The Global Encyclopedia of Informality (2018). She is a founding director of the Global Informality Project (

ILINA MANGOVA is program director of the International Republican Institute in Macedonia and associate researcher and member of the Institute for Democracy ‘Societas Civilis’-Skopje. She does research and has published on the topics of democratic governance, public opinion, transparency, political parties and elections. She has also been a coordinator for Macedonia for the international scientific research project ‘Varieties of Democracy’, which conceptualizes and measures democracy in 113 countries and she has lectured in ‘Political Systems and Global Relations’ at the Skopje based School of Journalism and Public Relations. She holds an ← 206 | 207 → M.Sc. degree in Comparative Politics and Democracy from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and BA in political studies at ‘Ss. Cyril and Methodius’ University in Skopje.

NENAD MARKOVIKJ is an associate professor at the political science department of the Law Faculty ‘Justinian I’ – Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje. He has obtained his MA degree at the European Regional Master Programme in Democracy and Human Rights in Southeast Europe (ERMA) – University of Sarajevo/University of Bologna in 2003. Professor Markovikj defended his Ph.D. thesis in 2010 at his home university entitled ‘The impact of civil society organizations on the democratic transition and consolidation in the Republic of Macedonia.’ He is founder and a senior researcher in the Institute for Democracy ‘Societas Civilis’ – Skopje and a member of the editorial board member of the quarterly magazine Political thought. He is the president of the Macedonian Political Science Association (MPSA). His main interests are political theory, political philosophy, nationalism, civil society, political culture and myths.

MIRZA MUJARIC is a researcher at CISAR. He holds master’s degree in economics obtained at the School of Economics and Business in Sarajevo (SEBS) in 2014 and has started his PhD studies at SEBS. His research interests include informal and undeclared economy, institutional economics, international aid, and sustainable development. He (co)authored several policy papers, briefs and reports.

ENRIKETA PAPA-PANDELEJMONI is a historian at the Department of History at University of Tirana. She is also and Director of the Albanian Center for Historical and Anthropological Research in Tirana. Her interests include contemporary history of Europe and Albania, social history, gender, communism and memory. She is a co-author of the edited volumes, Myths and Mythical Spaces. Conditions and Challenges for History Textbooks in Albania and South-Eastern Europe (2018); The Call for Freedom. Studies on Totalitarianism and Transition in Albania (2016) and Albania. Family, Society and Culture in the 20th Century (2012).

MISHA POPOVIKJ is research coordinator at the Institute for Democracy ‘Societas Civilis’ Skopje. He holds MA in Identity, Culture and Power at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at the University College ← 207 | 208 → London and BA in political studies from the University ‘Ss Cyril and Methodius’ from Skopje, Macedonia. His current focus is in the areas of corruption and informality and he has published policy briefs, papers and reports on these issues. Previously he has published papers and chapters in the areas of civic and political participation, nationalism, political culture and resistance to social change.

REANA SENJKOVIĆ holds a PhD in Cultural Anthropology and is a senior researcher at the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research, Zagreb, Croatia. Her research interests cover the area of popular culture, cultural and anthropological theory, anthropology of (post)socialism.