Authoritarian turn: The Western Balkans’ move towards EU membership and away from democracy

Authoritarian turn: The Western Balkans’ move towards EU membership and away from democracy

Wednesday, 1 February 2017 - 5:00pm
Venue: 
Seminar Room, European Studies Centre, 70 Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HR
Speaker(s): 
Florian Bieber (University of Graz, Austria)
Chair: 
Richard Caplan (Linacre College, Oxford) (tbc)
Convenor: 
Othon Anastasakis (St Antony’s College, Oxford); Adis Merdzanovic (St Antony’s College, Oxford)
Series: 
SEESOX

SEESOX Seminar Series
The rise of illiberalism in South East Europe
The current European crises appear to have facilitated the (re-)emergence of illiberalism as a viable alternative for political elites, both within the European Union and on its periphery. Arguably, this effect has been greater in transition countries that found their path towards liberal democracy disrupted, as well as in countries that already face internal challenges in terms of their legal, political, social, or economic environments. The seminar series will look at the conditions that allow illiberal ideas to infiltrate and illiberal practices to develop; how such ideas are expressed and instrumentalised in different fields of social interaction; their impact on politics and economics; and, finally, what, if any, counter-reactions they have produced. Are these temporary setbacks caused by the crises, or a frustration with the European Union and certain of its policies? Or are we witnessing a profound and longer-lasting challenge to the primacy of the liberal democratic model?

This seminar will explore how the Western Balkans moved away from democracy and towards more authoritarian forms of governing while they simultaneously progressed on their paths towards European Union membership. 

Florian Bieber is a Professor of Southeast European Studies and director of the Centre for Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz, Austria. He studied at Trinity College (USA), the University of Vienna and Central European University, and received his PhD in Political Science from the University of Vienna. Between 2001 and 2006 he worked in Belgrade (Serbia) and Sarajevo (Bosnia & Hercegovina) for the European Centre for Minority Issues. He is a Visiting Professor at the Nationalism Studies Program at Central European University and has taught at the University of Kent, Cornell University, the University of Bologna and the University of Sarajevo.