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The Real and the Imagined in the Contemporary Balkans

Year Group 2011/12

This theme group on the Balkans analysed social, political, cultural and symbolic dynamics of contemporary life in the ex-Yugoslav successor states.

About the topic

The Theme Group The Real and the Imagined in Contemporary Balkans analysed social, political, cultural and symbolic dynamics of contemporary life in the ex-Yugoslav successor states and beyond. We looked at how societies, experiences and narratives change, and refused to settle for ‘the truths’, ‘the facts’, ‘the history’ and ‘the reality’ of ‘the region’. Rather, we approach all of them as constructed, contested in different moments of time, within different spaces, be it in the courtrooms, sports halls, music halls or cinema halls. For us, the Balkans was simultaneously a ‘symbolic continent’ (Bakic-Hayden & Hayden, 1992) against which the national, regional and European (self-)imaginaries and identities are continuously redefined; and a geo-political space with multiple linkages within and between the successor states, Europe and the Globe. The group organized two international seminars (Regional and International Discourses on Deliveries of Justice in Former Yugoslavia: Histories, Meanings and Narratives, April 2012; The Real and the Imagined in Contemporary Balkans, June 2012), prepared one edited and one co-authored book, and a special issue of a journal. Individual members also wrote a number of journal articles, participated at international conferences and gave guest lectures.

D. Zarkov, Theme Group Coordinator

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