2nd Conference

“Becoming Citizens of United Europe: Anthropological and Historical Aspects of the EU Enlargement in Southeast Europe”

20-23 February 2003, Graz


Call for Papers

Aim of the conference
In the next years to come the process of the integration of Southeastern Europe into the European Union will expand and accelerate. Three countries are currently negotiating for membership (Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania) and others have signed association agreements with the EU. Generally, all governments in Southeastern Europe share the agenda of bringing their countries into the European Union. Far-reaching hopes are pinned on EU-membership because the EU is often viewed as the only solution to the protracted economic and social problems of the region. The process of EU accession, and the possible consequences of the lack thereof, are usually assessed from a political, economic or legal point of view that highlights important developments on the macro-level of social change. The impact of European integration on everyday life, popular perceptions and expectations, strategies of ‘ordinary’ people and modes of self-identification are usually much less considered by European politicians and technocrats because decision making does not seem to be particularly informed by anthropology. In our view, an anthropological perspective must be included in order to understand the contingencies and possible consequences of the uneven process of integration into the European Union and the gradual transformation of Europe into a polity of a new order.

The organisers of this conference therefor invite paper proposals that will discuss, from anthropological as well as historical perspectives, the impact of the EU enlargement process on the societies in Southeastern Europe. Scholars from related disciplines are also encouraged to submit proposals.
Papers may wish to explore popular expectations, experiences as well as local strategies in view of the pending EU accession, and the political, economic and cultural aspects of these new processes and political-economical frameworks of inclusion or exclusion. Popular responses to official discourses or the impact of Europe on imaginary and perceived realities may be other important topics. Contributions on Greece could provide a comparative framework for studying the developments triggered by EU membership. In general, comparative accounts will be highly welcome. The underlying aim of the conference is to show what anthropology and related disciplines can contribute to a better understanding of the EU enlargement processes in respect to the Southeast European situation and its specificity. The conference wishes to include an applied perspective as well and to explore the consequences of the European perspective on the ways anthropology, ethnology and ethnography are framed and taught in Southeastern Europe.

Sub-topics of the conference include:

  • Identity, Images and Discourses:
    image of Europe, discourses of “Europeanisation/Westernisation”; history of perceptions of “Europe”; EU accession as the end of “Balkanism”?; appropriating ‘the other’; mutual (mis-)representations; processes of homogenising identity; switching and shifting identities.
  • Civil versus Ethnic Identity:
    “European” versus local identity; fears, hopes and expectations of change; end of nationalism?, citizenship versus ethnic belonging; contested categories of collectivism; local histories of civil identity and resistance; minority rights and minority protection – local understandings, foreign impositions.
  • Power Relations:
    the construction of centre and periphery within Europe and within the region; European hegemonies on Southeastern Europe; impact of EU policy on domestic and local decision making; concepts of devolution, regionalisation, decentralisation and their local effects; domestic discourses on subsidarity.
  • Diversity:
    politics of differences and commonalties; histories of interethnic coexistence and conflict; the changing roles of religion; contested concepts of ‘Civil Society’; the impact of EU policies on domestic homogeneity or heterogeneity; cultural exchange.
  • Practices and Decisions:
    changing social and cultural practices in view of Europe; impact of enlargement perspectives on everyday life, popular strategies and local politics in Southeastern Europe; popular perceptions of the enlargement process;
  • Integration and Migration:
    Europe and migration; inclusion and exclusion; diversity and assimilation; EU migration policies and their impact on the countries of Southeastern Europe; new migrant communities to Southeastern Europe
  • Modernisation and ‘Transition’:
    Concepts and processes of ‘modernisation’ and their critics; EU intervention and local effects; anthropological perspectives on economic restructuring and ‘development’; contested issues of ‘justice’, ‘civil society’, ‘democracy’, ‘market economy’ etc.
  • Regional Interactions:
    changing balances of power within the Balkans; new borders, new alliances, new migration patterns; mutual perception in Southeastern Europe; redefining neighbours
  • Impacts on the Discipline:
    Anthropology teaching between the ‘local’, ‘national’ and the ‘European’; concepts of ‘national heritage’ and ‘European legacy’; national, local and international debates about teaching of anthropology/ethnology/ethnography in view of ‘Europe’; ‘Europeanisation’ of local ethnographies; hegemonic power of the European discourse on local concepts


Abstracts: Please send a 200-250 word abstract of your paper proposal to the program committee

  • by e-mail to ulf@gewi.uni-graz.at
  • or by fax to: +43.316.380 9735 (attn. Dr. Ulf Brunnbauer).

Deadline for paper proposals: 1 September 2002.

Provided sufficient funding will be acquired, participants who are Southeast European nationals and are residents of Southeast European countries (except for Greece) will have their reasonable travelling costs reimbursed and will be provided pre-organised accommodation with half board free of charge.
Other participants will be asked to take care of their hotel reservations as soon as possible after their paper has been accepted because Graz will be European Cultural Capital of the year 2003 and therefor hotels might be sold out soon. A list with hotels in different price categories can be found at http://www.graztourismus.at/.

For further information please contact the convenor:
Dr. Ulf Brunnbauer
Center for the Study of Balkan Societies and Cultures
University of Graz
Mozartgasse 3, A8010 Graz, Austria
E-mail: ulf@gewi.uni-graz.at
Phone: +43.316.380 8107



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