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ECPR Standing Group
on South East Europe


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Member Projects

Members of group are encouraged to advertise their projects in this section. Please contact our administrator (|) with the title and a short description of your project.

This is a sample of current and recent projects involving members of the group:


Europeanization of Public Administration

  • Arolda Elbasani (Social Science Research Center Berlin)

Different countries in the post-communist space have recorded various timings and degrees of public administration reform, since the end of communism. The puzzle to be solved by this project is why some post-communist countries are less prone to comply with the EU pressures and show more resistance to change.
It is an acknowledged, and often researched, phenomenon in the literature that countries differ in their propensity to comply with foreign conditions, more particularly EU enlargement conditionality. However, when researching into these discrepancies, most studies focus either to the appeal of external incentives or some form of declared domestic consensus, which fundamentally qualify countries as good or bad students of compliance. As a result, the existing research advocates an extremely positive weight to the foreign incentives and the reformist rhetoric of domestic actors when explaining compliance. This research project, assumes that actors chose and act under the historical constraints and normative institutional environments they are embedded in. The study adopts a cross-country comparison of four national cases, whose choice makes it possible to compare different constellation of factors with different results of reform in each country.


Transitional Justice After Communism

  • Arolda Elbasani (Social Science Research Centre Berlin)
  • Artur Lipinski (University of Poznan)

Transitional Justice has turned into a central issue for the new democracies merging out of decades of communism. Accumulated evidence two decades after the fall of communist regimes shows a great diversity in terms of models and practices followed in different countries. What explains the variety of models, practices and results of coping with the past in the new democracies in the East? This project analyses the factors that impinge upon success of transitional justice comparing two most different cases, Albania and Poland. The analysis, much like most previous research, stresses the role of politics to explain the difficult and complicated realization of transitional justice in both countries. Yet, evidence from the case studies shows that the existence of a plural, sophisticated and open public debate in Poland proved to shield transitory justice from heavy politicization, a phenomenon very obvious in the case of Albania, where the process was from the start elite driven, exclusive and secretive.


The Enemy That Never Was: the Muslim/Turkish Minority of Thrace During the Axis Occupation and the Greek Civil War, 1941-49

  • Kevin Featherstone (LSE)
  • Dimitris Papadimitriou (Manchester)
  • Argyris Mamarelis (LSE)
  • Georgios Niarchos (LSE)

This project was supported by the Arts & Humanities Research Council of the UK. Grant: AH/D502616/1 (2006-8). 

Why, when faced with a brutal occupation and then a bloody civil war, did the Muslims on Greece's border with Turkey remain passive? The Lausanne Treaty of 1923 had recognized them as a vulnerable minority and there were a number of international and local factors that might have led to ethnic conflict. This first in-depth historical study of the minority explores the puzzle of the absence of conflict, the complex patterns of identity of the minority, and the strategic relevance of this community to the international relations of a region long seen as a powder-keg. It is based on extensive Greek, Turkish and Bulgarian archive materials, many of which have not been analyzed before, as well as the official documents of the British and US governments and personal interviews with many of those who lived through these events. The project traces a fascinating, untold story and tells it through an inter-disciplinary lens, raising important questions of relevance not only to the 1940s but also to the inherited assumptions and images of today.


The Europeanisation of Citizenship in the Successor States of the Former Yugoslavia - Working Papers

  • The CITSEE team is pleased to announce the publication of three new papers in its Working Paper Series on citizenship regimes in the post-Yugoslav states.

In the working paper "The evolution of the Croatian citizenship regime: from independence to EU integration", Viktor Koska argues that the Croatian case displays almost all of the typical controversies and challenges associated to the former Yugoslavia successor states' regimes: ethnic engineering through citizenship policies, state exclusion and self exclusion of ethnic minorities from the core citizenry and liberalisation of the citizenship regime in the light of EU integration. By closely scrutinising the citizenship policies relating to two main target groups, the Croatian diaspora and the Serb minority, this paper argues that the Croatian citizenship regime has evolved through two stages of development over the last two decades: the citizenship debate during the first stage was concerned primarily with the 'status dimension' while the debate during the second stage moved towards the 'rights dimensions' of citizenship. To download the paper click here|.

Working paper "Citizenship in Slovenia: the regime of a nationalising or a Europeanising state?" by Tomaz ( Dez(elan draws on a 'nationalising state' approach to demonstrate the nature of membership in Slovenia, a polity that emerged on the ruins of the former Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). By considering the influence of the old regime on the incipient conception of citizenship and the nation-building process, the paper depicts the core dynamic in the field for the last two decades. With explorations of the initial determination of citizenry, the regulation of minorities, dual citizens and refugees, popular attitudes, the political elite's attitudes towards non-ethnic Slovenes, and the impact of Europe, the paper provides evidence for the primacy of an ethno-cultural conception of membership, which is constrained by the embeddedness of the Slovenian citizenship regime within international and supranational frameworks. To download the paper click here|.

Finally, "Citizenship and belonging in Serbia: in the crossfire of changing nationhood narratives", a working paper written by Jelena Vasiljevic' shows how the changing citizenship regimes in Serbia translate the varying narratives and perceptions of nationhood into the realities of political community. Apart from providing necessary historical context, the paper offers an insight into the important themes and topoi of Serbian nationhood narratives and their legal and political emanations, developments in post-2000 Serbia and changes within the legal framing of citizenship status as well as the changes (or, in some respects, only partial changes) in the overall political climate and the way in which the current citizenship regime and dominant political narrative imagine Serbia's political community and accordingly deal with groups and identities. The last segment of the paper briefly discusses the impact of Europeanisation taken both as a process of a political transformation and as a new emerging transformative discourse. To download the paper click here|.

This brings the number of working papers produced so far by the CITSEE researchers and associated scholars to 17 and, at the same time, marks the completion of the 7 case studies on citizenship regimes in all states that emerged after Yugoslavia.

For more information on the CITSEE project and its activities, please check the website| regularly.


ECPR Standing Group on SEE

Romania - Photo Credit CamilG