Accepted Paper:

“Excluding Europe”: national(ist) politics and narratives of (dis)placement in greater Belgrade after Kosovo's independence  


William Pavlovich (State University Of New York)

Paper short abstract:

My paper addresses how consequences of war and processes of European integration converge in the figure of the displaced person – especially in light of Kosovo’s independence – and in turn what this means for the displaced, citizens of Serbia, the Serbian state, and the EU.

Paper long abstract:

This paper analyzes how displaced persons in Serbia affect local, national, and international politics through narratives of displacement, and how this plays a significant role in reinvigorating nationalist politics that presents challenges to European integration. It explores how displacement opens up spaces for interpretation and contestation at individual, local, and national levels of society, and measures how Serbian politics are shaped by the interaction between displaced persons with local citizens, particularly members of the ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party. Specifically, the paper addresses how "Europe" is envisioned and constructed in greater Belgrade through the prism of changed borders, thousands of displaced persons, and an independent Kosovo. Moreover it asks how do displaced and non-displaced persons situate and represent themselves vis-à-vis these changes?

Because the political and social crisis facing Serbia today "reflects a long history of conflict and ambiguity about its place in Europe" (Emmert 2003:177), this paper explores how displaced persons negotiate the dialectics of border zones between the local and the translocal and how they interact in their new settings to influence politics and shape society. Although the former Yugoslav republic was based on a concept of ideological uniformity and national inclusion, the successor states were based largely on ethnonational exclusion with their corollary borders. In Serbia, geo-political maps and borders have always profoundly shaped people's practices and their perceptions of place; this then is a key area for rethinking European integration, the nation-state, nationalism, refugees, and the significance of the politics of inclusion and exclusion in everyday life.

Panel W047
The new Europe: the politics of recognition, inclusion and exclusion