CITSEE: 8 new working papers on various aspects of citizenship in Southeast Europe

CITSEE Working Papers

The CITSEE team is pleased to announce the publication of eight new papers in its Working Paper Series on citizenship regimes in post-Yugoslav states. These thematic and comparative papers have been written within the framework of two distinct CITSEE research clusters – “Gender and Citizenship” and “Citizenship, Minorities and Migrations” – that all the authors belong to. These clusters represent closely-knit groups that share a methodology and have been developing these papers as part of their respective joint research projects.

Thus, to begin with “Gender and Citizenship” cluster, Katja Kahlina’s working paper “Contested terrain of sexual citizenship: EU accession and the changing position of sexual minorities in the post-Yugoslav context” traces the transformation of sexual citizenship in the context of the European Union accession process in post-Yugoslav space. While looking at the dynamic interplay between the competing visions of nation and national community, EU accession process, and the citizenship status of sexual minorities in these three states, the paper argues that, rather than representing an unambiguously liberating force, EU accession in the post-Yugoslav context has facilitated the turning of sexual citizenship into a contested terrain where struggles over ‘Europeanness’, liberal pluralism, and national identity take place.

Oliwia Berdak’s working paper “War, Gender and Citizenship in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia” compares the position of veterans of the Yugoslav Wars 1991-1995 in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia in order to explore the interaction between war, gender and citizenship. The paper argues that the results for veterans who all participated in the same conflict have been very different depending on which army they joined, and which war narrative prevailed in their place of residence. This war was masculinised in discourse and practice, creating gendered post-war social citizenship in the cases where the citizen-soldier has been rewarded.

The working paper “Gendering Social Citizenship: Textile Workers in post-Yugoslav States” by Chiara Bonfiglioli, on the other hand, analyses social citizenship in post-Yugoslav states from a gendered perspective. It explores the parallel transformations of citizenship regimes and gender regimes on the basis of the case study of the textile industry, a traditionally “feminised” industrial sector in which employment rates have significantly declined in the last twenty years. By comparing the cases of Leskovac (Serbia) and Štip (Macedonia), the paper shows that transformations in social citizenship had profound implications when it comes to gender regimes. The “retraditionalisation” of gender relations in the post-Yugoslav region, therefore, is not only a consequence of nationalist discourses, but is also a direct result of transformations in social citizenship which occurred during the post-socialist transition.

In the working paper “Being an Activist: Feminist citizenship through transformations of Yugoslav and post-Yugoslav citizenship regimes”, Adriana Zaharijević attempts to connect relevant investigations in feminist citizenship, its meaning and scope, with the alterations of citizenship regimes in the former Yugoslavia and its successor states. The paper argues that feminist citizenship has to be seen as both an effect of deep changes in citizenship regimes, but also as a constant challenge to their sedimentation. The paper thus seeks to offer an alternative reading of history of feminism in Yugoslavia and its successor states, relying mainly on the concepts of activist citizenship and citizenship regimes. It will also show that with the changes in citizenship regime the frames of interpretation change as well, changing the meaning of feminism as a political force

On the other hand, as regards the ‘Citizenship, Minorities and Migrations” cluster, Dejan Stjepanović’s paper, “‘Perceived Co-Ethnics’ and Kin-State Citizenship in Southeastern Europe” explores the often neglected ‘perceived co-ethnics’ in the analysis of citizenship policies. The paper argues this is an interstitial category that further complicates the triadic nexus between national minorities, nationalizing states and kin-states. Apart from bringing the perceived co-ethnics issue into the focus, the paper elucidates citizenship policies affecting groups that challenge the exact fit between ethnicity and nation; showing how national governments through particular citizenship policies and categorisation practices engage in construction of groups. The paper shows that the triadic nexus framework which has had a strong influence on citizenship and minorities scholarship needs to be revised in some aspects and include unidirectional relations between the elements of the triadic nexus. The paper is based on the comparison between the cases of ethnic Vlachs and Bunjevci in the context of Albania, Croatia, Greece and Serbia.

In the working paper “Politics of Return, Inequality and Citizenship in the Post-Yugoslav Space” Biljana Ɖorđević argues that the right to return should be upheld as a political principle for mitigation of the boundary problem – who belongs to demos. Restoration of citizenship pursued through justified politics of return contributes to the democratic reconstitution of post-conflict societies. In the post-Yugoslav space, however, politics of return of refugees, internally displaced persons, diaspora, and deportspora can be charged with promoting some forms of citizenship inequality, preferring some citizens over others and impeding or effectively blocking the return of those thought undesirable.

The working paper “Romani Minorities on the Margins of Post-Yugoslav Citizenship Regimes” by Julija Sardelić aims at mapping how Romani minorities were positioned in the context of post-Yugoslav citizenship regimes’ transformations and to observe possible trends throughout post-Yugoslav space regarding their positioning. The paper establishes that due to historical as well as contemporary hierarchical inclusions, many individuals identified as belonging to Romani minorities faced specific obstacles in access to citizenship in most Yugoslav states, where they de facto resided. Consequently, it gives an illustration of citizenship constellations in which many Romani individuals found themselves as non-citizens at their place of residence and usually without the status of legal alien with permanent residence as well as with ineffective citizenship of another post-Yugoslav state. Additionally, it also examines the hierarchical positioning of Romani individuals, who are citizens at their place of residence and, at least de iure, enjoy a certain scope of minority rights.

Gëzim Krasniqi’s paper on “Equal citizens, uneven ‘communities’: differentiated and hierarchical citizenship in Kosovo” uses the case of citizenship in Kosovo to show how despite the constitutionally and legally enshrined promise of equality, differentiated citizenship together with a political context defined by an ethnic divide and past structural inequalities, as well as uneven external citizenship opportunities, contributed to the emergence of hierarchical citizenship, where some groups (communities), or ‘rights-and-duty-bearing units’, are ‘more equal than the others’. The paper argues that the hierarchy exists not only between the core or dominant community (Albanians) and the non-dominant communities, but between the latter as well.

This brings the number of working papers produced so far by CITSEE researchers and associated scholars to 33, and shows our increased focus on thematic and comparative studies.

You can follow CITSEE’s work via the website, the web magazineCitizenship in South East Europe, on twitter (@citseeteam) and on Facebook.