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Stagnation and Drift in the Western Balkans

The Challenges of Political, Economic and Social Change

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Claire Gordon, Marko Kmezic and Jasmina Opardija-Susnjar

This volume allows a new generation of scholars, from the Balkans and beyond, to shed light on some of the struggles the region faces. The combination of post-communist and post-conflict transition, together with the current economic and financial crisis, pose difficult challenges for the Western Balkans.
What is the state of democracy in the region? Are the countries of the Western Balkans stuck somewhere between authoritarianism and genuine democracy? What are the remaining obstacles to state building? What effect has the crisis had on young people in the Western Balkans?
These are some of the questions the authors of this volume seek to answer. The studies look at different countries and combine methods from various disciplines ranging from political science, history, economics and law to sociology, anthropology and cultural studies.

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Claire Gordon, Marko Kmezic and Jasmina Opardija - Introduction: The Challenges of Political, Social and Economic Change in the Western Balkans - 7

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1 This programme is run by the University of Fribourg and is fully supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Federal Depart- ment of Foreign Affairs. Claire Gordon, Marko Kmezic and Jasmina Opardija Introduction: The Challenges of Political, Social and Economic Change in the Western Balkans This edited volume on Stagnation and Drift in the Western Balkans: The Challenges of Political, Social and Economic Change is the product of the Regional Research Promotion Programme (RRPP)1 in the Western Balkans. It offers insights into the contemporary work of mostly younger social scientists from the Western Balkan region and beyond who are researching political, social and economic changes in the region. The chapters in this volume were initially presented and GLVFXVVHGDWWKHWKLUGDQQXDO5533VFLHQWLÀFFRQIHUHQFHLQ%XGYD Montenegro, in May 2011. They were selected from among some 45 contributions in cooperation with the discussants from the eight thematic workshops that were held at the 2011 conference. Annual conferences and the publication and dissemination of research are only two aspects of the work of the RRPP. The pro- gramme also supports a cooperation platform for social scientists working on the region with three interrelated pillars: ² VXSSRUWDQGÀQDQFLQJRIUHJLRQDOUHVHDUFKSURMHFWVFRQGXFWHG by researchers from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Mac- edonia, Montenegro and Serbia; – provision of methods training to scholars in the region by well- established international scholars; – the facilitation of regional and international cooperation and net- working, in particular through the organization of international conferences. 8 Gordon, Kmezic and Opardija The RRPP for the Western Balkans was initiated in...

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