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  • Author: Mira Kaneva
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Security and International Studies (ISIS)
  • Abstract: Christopher Nolan’s film Inception creates a mesmerizing maze where each action of the protagonists has a ripple effect down through the whole fabric of the story. Making one’s way through the maze, though only in one’s own imagination, leaves the viewer disoriented. The film is all about process, about fighting one’s way through enveloping sheets of reality and dream, reality within dreams, dreams without reality. There is no time or place synchronization; architecture has a way of disregarding gravity where buildings tilt, streets coil and characters are adrift in what is more an emotional than a rational ‘ball of thread’ of experience. In a similar fashion, a complex network of events envelops the Western Balkans since the neologism’s ambiguous inception in the early 1990-s. For nearly three decades the region has been misperceived as stuck-in-the mud, criticized for being entangled in a desynchronized microcosm, involved in a set of flashbacks to archetypal conflicts on identity grounds and doomed to stagnated Europeanization. Both material facts such as cost-benefit calculations and ideational categories such as perceptions, beliefs, values, narratives are at play here. Almost like a Wiki-article, this paper attempts a disambiguation of several key assumptions about the Western Balkans so that it advances the argument that the Western Balkans region is inevitably on its way out of the shoals not least due to the European and Atlantic perspective for its future as offered by the European Union and NATO. It tackles three highly contentious statements: first, it refutes the proposition that the Western Balkans are entrapped in a specific ethnic security dilemma that offers no exit; second, it contends that at the moment the region is caught in a vicious circle of hard security threats (territorial conflicts) and soft security threats (radicalization, populism, corruption and organized crime); third, it holds a moderate optimistic view that the region is likely to be involved in a process of socialization within a vaster security community. The course of reasoning follows the case study of Serbia’s political and social development in the last decade; the theoretical framework is influenced by the security dilemma debate in International Relations literature.
  • Topic: Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Balkans, Global Focus