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Political Economy, Ethnicity and Development in Yugoslavia, Serbia and Kosovo

edited by: Jens Stilhoff Sörensen
published by
: Berghan Oxford NY
pp: 332
ISBN: 9781845455606
price: $120 | £75

Book's frontpage

In the 1990s, Yugoslavia, which had once been a role model for development, became a symbol for state collapse, external intervention and post-war reconstruction. Today the region has two international protectorates, contested states and borders, severe ethnic polarization and minority concerns. In this first in-depth critical analysis of international administration, aid and reconstruction policies in Kosovo, Jens Stilhoff Sörensen argues that the region must be analyzed as a whole, and that the process of state collapse and recent changes in aid policy must be interpreted in connection to the wider transformation of the global political economy and world order. He examines the shifting inter- and intracommunity relations, the emergence of a "political economy" of conflict, and of informal clientelist arrangements in Serbia and Kosovo and provides a framework for interpreting the collapse of the Yugoslav state, the emergence of ethnic conflict and shadow economies, and the character of western aid and intervention. Western governments and agencies have built policies on conceptions and assumptions for which there is no genuine historical or contemporary economic, social or political basis in the region. As the author persuasively argues, this discrepancy has exacerbated and cemented problems in the region and provided further complications that are likely to remain for years to come.


Table of contents


Introduction: Aid Policy, Reconstruction and the New Periphery

1. Aid Policy Shift and State Transformation as Expressions of Globalisation
2. Aid Policy and State Transformation: From Government to Governance and from Marshall Plan to Stability Pact
3. Small Nations in One State? The Legacy of the First Yugoslavia and the Partisan Revolution
4. Statehood Beyond Ethnicity? Socialism, Federalism and the National Question in a Developmental State
5. Reframing Yugoslavia: From a Renegotiated State to its Breakdown
6. Hegemony and the Political Economy of Populism: The Emergence of the Miloševic Regime and the Transformation of Serbian Society
7. Adaptation and Resistance in a New Social Formation: Aspects of Cohesion and Fragmentation in Serbia Proper and in Kosovo
8. Postwar Governance, Reconstruction and Development in Kosovo, 1999-2007
9. International Support for the Development of Civil Society

Conclusion: A Political Economy of Exclusion and Adaptation



"Studies of the Balkans, including this book and others recently published, repeatedly emphasize that this is a part of Europe that is still immature in its ethnic, cultural, and national composition and that may take a long time to settle down. Sorensen (Gothenburg Univ., Sweden), a Swedish diplomat and scholar, first discusses aid policy extended to collapsing political regimes in general and then focuses specifically on Yugoslavia, with its special problems of multinationality and its history of partisan revolutions. Especially crucial and interesting is the discussion of the attempt to reconcile ethnicity with socialism in a multinational environment where history has traditionally been the decisive element. The Milosevic regime trampled historical traditions and established a dictatorial regime, but outside international pressure scored some success in developing a civil society. However, the polarization between Serbs and Albanians remains as deeply entrenched as ever, even if the international community insists on dialogue. In both Serbia proper and Kosovo, only minor indications of cohesion can be observed. In the last chapters, the author finds some balance between cohesion and fragmentation, but not much hope for genuine cooperation.
In summary, this book is pessimistic but, unhappily, probably also realistic. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate, and research collections."
by L. K. D. Kristof emeritus professor, Portland State University.

About the Author

Jens Stilhoff Sorensen is a Research Fellow in the Swedish Institute of International Affairs and at the School of Global Studies, Gothenburg University. He has worked for the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the OSCE.


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