Legacies of Yugoslavia on the region’s post-communist transition

Legacy book cover

Legacies of Yugoslavia on the region’s post-communist transition

Wednesday, 24 February 2021 - 5:00pm
Zoom webinar
Ivor Sokolic (LSE)
Ljubica Spaskovska (University of Exeter)
Milica Uvalic (University of Perugia)
Othon Anastasakis (St Antony’s College, Oxford); Adis Merdzanovic (Zurich University of Applied Sciences)
Othon Anastasakis (St Antony’s College, Oxford); Adis Merdzanovic (Zurich University of Applied Sciences)

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Book discussion

On the occasion of the publication of the book The Legacy of Yugoslavia: Politics Economics and Society in the Modern Balkans (Bloomsbury 2020)

After the collapse of Yugoslavia, the new states opted to eradicate the past, as such an approach seemed more convenient for the new national projects. But did Yugoslavia disappear completely during transition? In answering this question, the panel reflects on the influence of Yugoslavia during and after its dissolution, identifying and analysing the legacies left of this unique country through the prism of continuities and ruptures between the past and the present. Focusing on three distinctive Yugoslav features, the panellists will be addressing: first, the legacy of Yugoslavia’s liberalism on subsequent civil society developments in the region; second, the memory and re-appropriation of Yugoslav non-alignment multilateralism by some of the present elites; third, the different degrees of dismantling of the Yugoslav mixed economic model. The panellists are contributors of the edited volume The Legacy of Yugoslavia. Politics, Economics and Society in the Modern Balkans (IB Tauris 2020), a volume which looks at the post-Yugoslav space in historical perspective and connects the region's past with its contemporary social, political and economic condition.

Ivor Sokolić is a Research Officer at the European Institute at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He works on the ERC funded project “Justice Interactions and Peacebuilding: From Static to Dynamic Discourses across National, Ethnic, Gender and Age Groups”, which examines transitional justice processes across the former Yugoslavia. He holds a PhD from the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies and an MSc and BSc in European Politics from the Department of International Politics at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

Ljubica Spaskovska is a Lecturer in European History at the University of Exeter. Her research interests are in the political and socio-cultural history of internationalism, including development, decolonisation and histories of generations, while providing important new perspectives on the (re) making of anti-imperial Europe and approaches to European-Global South relations. Her current and recent projects have addressed interwar student internationalism and the Spanish Civil War, the Non-Aligned Movement and the end of European Empires, the socio-cultural history of internationalism between South-Eastern Europe and Africa/Asia, and both the collapse of state socialism and the history of Yugoslavia, in a global perspective. Her first monograph The Last Yugoslav Generation: the Rethinking of Youth Politics and Cultures in Late Socialism (Manchester University Press) was published in April 2017. A paperback edition came out in August 2019.

Milica Uvalić has been Professor of Economics at the University of Perugia, Italy, since 1992.  Formerly she was a member of the UN Committee for Development Policy (2008-2012),  a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Centre in Washington DC (2009), Assistant Minister in the Federal government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (2001), President of the European Association for Comparative Economic Studies and President of the Italian Association for Comparative Economic Systems. She holds a PhD in Economics from the European University Institute, Florence, Italy. Her research and teaching areas are in comparative economics with a focus on the Balkans, Central Eastern Europe and the European Union. Recent publications include: FDI into transition economies: Are the Balkans different? (2014 – with S. Estrin), The Economics of Transition, Vol. 22; The Social Consequences of the Global Economic Crisis in South East Europe (co-edited with W. Bartlett, 2013), London, LSE; “Why development patterns differ: the Czech and Serbian models compared” (with J. Svejnar) in M. Aoki (ed) (2012); Institutions and Patterns of Economic Development, (Palgrave, Macmillan); Serbia’s Transition – Towards a Better Future (2010, Palgrave Macmillan (Serbian translation, 2012)).

Chair: Othon Anastasakis (SEESOX) is a Senior Research Fellow at St Antony’s College; an Associate at the Department of Politics and International Relations; an Affiliate of the Centre for International Studies; an Affiliate of the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies (OSGA); and former Director of the European Studies Centre, St Antony's College, Oxford (July 2012-October 2015). He teaches “South East European politics and European integration” for the OSGA and “EU politics” for the Department of Continuing Education, Oxford. He is the Principal Investigator of two research projects: “Greek Diaspora Project at SEESOX”; and the Oxford/Berlin funded “Migration Diplomacy and Turkey-EU relations”. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada; Region Head of Europe in Oxford Analytica. His research interests are Balkan comparative politics, global and regional geopolitics, transition and democratisation in Southern and South Eastern Europe, Greek foreign policy, Greek-Turkish relations, European populism and extreme right, Russia in South East Europe, Greek and South East European diaspora, Turkey and the EU, Turkish foreign policy in the Balkans, EU’s enlargement.

Chair: Adis Merdzanovic is a political scientist specialising on the Western Balkans region and its European Integration perspective, as well as communication sciences and marketing. He is a senior research fellow at Zurich University of Applied Sciences and a former postdoctoral Junior Research Fellow at South East European Studies at Oxford (SEESOX), which is part of the European Studies Centre of St Antony’s College at the University of Oxford. He obtained his PhD in political science from the University of Zurich, Switzerland, and was previously a Swiss Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, D.C. His research focuses on political communication and marketing, but also the role of the media in general as well as democratisation of divided post-war societies with a particular emphasis on political and constitutional orders in the Western Balkans.