Accepted Paper:

Fallen from grace, stuck in place: shifting cross-border hierarchies in Serbia  
Stef Jansen (University of Manchester)

Paper short abstract:

Investigates visa-imposed immobility in Serbia since the 1990s 'fall from grace' which saw the disintegration of modernising normality and a sense of being 'overtaken' by neighbouring (previously 'really' East European) states that earlier functioned as a counterpoint for Yugoslav self-perceptions.

Paper long abstract:

A common self-presentation in Serbia today includes a sense of belated transformation after a collective 'fall from grace' during the 1990s. In this lament on lost expectations of modernisation people overwhelmingly remember themselves--as Yugoslav citizens--as never really Eastern Eastern Europeans. Against the current isolation, relative deprivation, Den Haag search warrants and IMF restructuring packages, a central dimension of this remembered not-so-Eastern 'normality' is the possibility of cross-border movement. While 're-entry into Europe' is widely considered a birthright, there is an acute awareness of its conditionality. Serbia's position is then compared unfavourably with that of 'more advanced' neighbouring Eastern European states--those same (previously 'really Eastern') states that used to function as the counterpoint for a Yugoslav sense of superiority. Aiming to address discourses of 'transition' and of Balkanism, this presentation analyses the everyday life of such reconfigured hierarchies. Focusing on experiences of enforced emplacement brought about by visa regimes--seen as a particularly humiliating reminder of the 'fall from grace'--it investigates dynamics of living standards (here: money) and morality (here: gender/kinship) with regard to old and new borders.

Panel W041
Eastern boundaries, money and gender: exploring shifting locations of identity and difference on the European peripheries