1st Edition

Europeanization and Statebuilding as Everyday Practices Performing Europe in the Western Balkans

By Vjosa Musliu Copyright 2021
    172 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    172 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides a critical understanding of Europeanization and statebuilding in the Western Balkans, using the notion of everyday practices.

    This volume argues that it is everyday and mundane events that provide the entry points to showcase a broader set of practices of Europeanization in countries outside the EU. It does this by tracing notions of Europeanization in the everyday statebuilding of Kosovo, Europe Day celebrations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, urban politics in Tirana, and space and place making in Skopje. In doing so, the book shows that everyday events tell us that as much as it is about changing structures, institutions, and economic models, Europeanization is also about changing behaviours and ideas in populations at large. At the same time, the work shows that countries outside the EU use everyday events to perform their belonging to Europe.

    This book will be of much interest to students of European Studies, Balkan politics, statebuilding, and International Relations generally.

    1. Europeanization as Statebuilding. Statebuilding as Europeanization. Everyday Performative Acts in the Western Balkans

    2. Kosovo: a EUropean state is born

    3. Fantasies of Islam and EUrope. The case of public intellectuals in Kosovo

    4. Performing Europe through rainbow flags. Of LGBT politics in Pristina

    5. Celebrating and Fantasizing EUrope in Sarajevo

    6. "Tirana will not be Calcutta": European activities and aesthetics in Tirana

    7. If only statues could talk! The making of European Macedonia through Skopje

    8. Conclusion


    Vjosa Musliu is Assistant Professor in the Political Science department at the Free University of Brussels (VUB), Belgium.

    'This fiercely original book persuasively argues that focusing on the "low politics" of the everyday – festivals, parades, school textbooks, urban renewal projects – can tell us as much, if not more, about the cultural and political power of Europeanization as can the focus on the "high politics" of elite negotiations and legislation. Rich in detail and nuance, the book illuminates the many ways in which countries of the Western Balkans performed their fantasies of Europe and tried to assert their often-contested place in it.'-- Jelena Subotic, Professor of Political Science, Georgia State University, USA

    'Vjosa Musliu's Europeanization and Statebuilding as Everyday Practices offers a brilliant interrogation of the seemingly quotidian but deeply racialized relations of power engendered by broader post-socialist and post-conflict Europeanization processes in the Western Balkans. Moving through Prishtina, Tirana, Skopje and Sarajevo, Musliu draws on the largely ignored urban practices among places and people whose identification as "not quite European" have generated an entire mainstream culture of EU fetishization. Waving together feminist, post-socialist and critical European studies, the book offers a serious consideration of the ways in which sexuality, secularism and Islamophobia have served as orientalist canvase for the lived experiences of Europeaness in the larger integration of the region into the Euro-Atlantic alliance.'-- Piro Rexhepi, Professor at Southern New Hampshire University, USA

    'This excellent and timely book uses performativity to understand and explain how Europeanization in the Western Balkans takes place in mundane, everyday events like celebrating Europe Day and International Day Against Homophobia. Convincingly the author demonstrates and problematizes how the countries in the Western Balkans perform their imagined Europeaness in order to belong to a symbolic geography of Europe. Through everyday events this book tells us that Europeanization is both about changing structures, institutions, and political elites, and about changing behaviour, engineering ideas and practices of the people. Through its rich empirical material and theoretical originality this cutting-edge book advances the state of the art and makes an important contribution to our understanding of peacebuilding, statebuilding and Europeanization.'-- Annika Björkdahl, Professor of Political Science, Lund University, Sweden

    'This is a compelling and innovative view of Europeanization in the Western Balkans, and not only, going well beyond the positivism that characterizes most of the literature on the subject, to include the imaginary, the symbolic, and the performative. More broadly, it expands the notion of the political by revealing how ‘Europeanness’ is normalized and justified in a multi-vector process that must contain the periphery.'-- Anna Di Lellio, Professor of Politics, New York University, USA

    'For too long, the statebuilding and Europeanization process in the Western Balkans has been studied at an institutional level, but we knew very little how it is performed in practice. Musliu’s book offers a unique and grounded critique of European Union’s statebuilding interventions as everyday performative acts. The book analyzes how - parallel to top-down and institutional interventions - the Europeanization process is performed through socially-progressive and encoded events that seek to translate and retransmit what ‘EUrope’ should mean to aspirant countries. Musliu’s book should be read as one of the key constitutive texts of the performative turn in European studies.'--Gëzim Visoka, Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies, Dublin City University, Ireland