Show Less
Open access

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.

Eric Gordy is Professor of Political and Cultural Sociology at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London. His research concentrates on everyday life, political culture, and social and cultural dynamics in the states of Southeast Europe.

Adnan Efendic is Associate Professor of Economics at the School of Economics and Business, University of Sarajevo. His research focuses on the effects of formal and informal institutions in economics, on migration and development, with particular focus on the Western Balkans.