Accepted Paper:

One step forward, two steps back: Serbian path to Europe at the beginning of 21 century  

Author:

Mladena Prelic (Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts)

Paper short abstract:

In most of East European countries consensus on EU integration was relatively easily made. Serbia, hovewer, makes an exception - there is still ongoing unresolved public debate on the matter. In this paper I will try to elaborate what the concepts of "Europe" mean in public discourses of contemporary Serbia, as well as what makes this case different from the others in its surroundings.

Paper long abstract:

In most of East European countries consensus on EU integration was relatively easily made. Serbia, hovewer, makes an exception. Political and intelectual elites are still reluctant to make definite decisions in this matter. In this paper I will try to elaborate what are the meanings of "Europe" in public discourses of contemporary Serbia, as well as what concepts are counterpositioned to it, and what eventual alternatives to EU integrations of Serbia are. I will focus on the point of view of contemporary Serbian intelectuals, in contemporary political context, as well as in relation to the results of the public opinion on the same issue.

The quest for a new identity of Serbia actually began during 80's. It was the period of Serbia experiencing the most severe crisis in its recent history. The only unequivocal period of pro-European orientation lasted only slightly over two years and ended tragically with the political assassination of its pro-European Prime Minister. A period of partial restoration of a non-democratic regime followed. Political divisions are becoming more and more vivid in the society, with the deepest shism between those oriented towards Europe and those against the Union, which can be interpreted as pro and con a modern, democratic, civil society. My goal in this paper is to analyze the public discourses on this important issue and their possible contextualised meanings in order to determine why did Serbia chose to take such a different path from its neighbors who have decided to become part of Europe.

Panel W012
'West' and 'East'. Dreaming, writing, imagining, and practicing Europe