Political legitimacy in crisis: Reflections on Romania, Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina

Political legitimacy in crisis: Reflections on Romania, Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina

Wednesday, 9 March 2016 - 5:00pm
Seminar Room, European Studies Centre, 70 Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HR
Gruia Badescu (St John’s College, Oxford)
Jessie Hronesova (St Antony’s College, Oxford)
Cvete Koneska (Control Risks, London)
Robin Smith (New College, Oxford)
Othon Anastasakis (St Antony’s College, Oxford); Adis Merdzanovic (St Antony’s College, Oxford)

SEESOX Seminar Series: South East European realities amid Europe’s multiple crises

South East Europe currently finds itself confronted with numerous external crises, including the Eurozone, the refugee influx, crises in the eastern and southern neighbourhoods, as well as internal political, constitutional or economic. In SEESOX’s Hilary term Seminar Series, we wish to look at how the region has been coping or not coping with these multiple crises and what domestic developments or strategies may either prevent or enable appropriate political responses. The seminar series will address some of the acute problems affecting Europe, as seen especially from a South Eastern European perspective, and combine the thematic (refugee, economic and political crises) with the country specific approaches.

In recent years, Romania, Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina all experienced massive public protests, directed against the political elites. While all cases questioned the legitimacy of the political system and the behaviour of the politicians, they differed in many aspects, not least in the results that they were to produce. This panel takes a comparative look at these recent internal crises and seeks to illustrate commonalities and differences. Cvete Koneska will look at the developments in Macedonia, Gruia Badescu at those in Romania, while Bosnia and Herzegovina will be the focus of Jessie Hronešová’s talk. 

Cvete Koneska is a Senior Analyst for Europe at Control Risks Group, where she advises governments and companies about political and security risks across Europe. She completed her DPhil in Politics at St Antony's College, University of Oxford in 2012, with a thesis about political elites in post-conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia. She is the author of After Ethnic Conflict: Policy Making in Post-Conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia and her articles have been published in several political science and IR academic journals.  

Gruia Badescu is a Departmental Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Oxford and a Stipendiary Lecturer at St John’s College, Oxford.  He holds a a BA in Geography and European Studies from Middlebury College, USA and a MSc degree in City Design and Social Science from the Cities Programme at the LSE.  His research explores the relationship between political transitions and urban reconfigurations, examining urban space as an arena of socio-political processes. A first dimension of research is relating urban reconstruction and memorial architecture to processes of dealing with past wars or dictatorships, including transitional justice.  His PhD, conducted at the Centre for Urban Conflicts Research, Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge, examined the relationship between the reconstruction of cities after war and the process of coming to terms with the past, with a focus on Belgrade and Sarajevo. Gruia was a visiting fellow at the Centre for Southeast European Studies, University of Graz and the Centre for Refugees and IDPs, University of Sarajevo, while he also conducted research on the theme in Germany and Lebanon. Second, Gruia is interested in the reconfigurations of publicness in post-socialist cities, exploring public space and its role in social movements.

Jessie Hronešová is a DPhil candidate in politics at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford, associate researcher at South East European Studies at Oxford. In her work she focuses on reparations for civilian victims of war and veterans in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the past, she worked in the media sector in the Balkans, OSCE in Bosnia and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. She is the author of Everyday Ethno-National Identities of Young People in Bosnia and Herzegovina and co-editor of The Nexus between Democracy, Collective Identity, and the EU Enlargement.

Robin Smith is a DPhil candidate in anthropology at the University of Oxford, writing her dissertation on the contestation of economic governance within Istria, Croatia's wine industry and farming community.