Securitisation versus citizenship in the Balkan states: Populist and authoritarian misuses of security threats and civic responses

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Krasteva, Anna
Vladisavljević, Nebojša
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Global Campus
The objective of this article is threefold: to identify the main security threats in the post-conflict and (post)-crisis Balkans; to analyse the emergence and strengthening of authoritarian and far-right tendencies as both a response and catalyst to securitarian policies and politics, as well as their variation across the region; and to examine the capacity of civil society to produce alternative discourses and mobilise resistance through various forms of civic activism and popular protest. The analysis is structured in three parts. The first part introduces three country cases – Bulgaria (mainstreaming of populist securitisation); Macedonia (ethnic securitisation in a deeply-divided society); and Serbia (democratic backsliding and populist authoritarianism). The three case studies reveal an important variation in the dynamics and outcomes of a broader populist and authoritarian trend that swept across the region. The three countries illustrate various types of civic resistance and contestatory citizenship. The two other parts are comparative: They enlarge the countries’ coverage and identify major regional trends from two perspectives: populist and authoritarian misuses of security threats and authoritarian trends; and emergence and diversification of forms of citizenship as expression of civic resilience. Nationalist, populist and authoritarian politics have moved from the periphery of the political scene to the mainstream. The trend takes a paradoxical form: on the one hand, a promotion of the EU agenda and regional co-operation; on the other hand, securitisation, construction of political opponents, ethnic, religious and cultural Others, and civic activists as threats to national security and national identity. The civic resistance and human rights responses to populist authoritarianism and mainstreamed securitisation are analysed through the theoretical lenses of citizenship. It expresses the transition from the engineering project of building civil society in post-communist countries to the emergence of new forms of civic agency. Three types of citizenship are studied comparatively – green, contestatory, and solidary. Key words: securitisation; authoritarianism; populism; citizenship; civic mobilisations; Bulgaria; Macedonia; Serbia; the Balkans; South-Eastern Europe
security, social security, authoritarianism, populism, citizenship, social mobilisation, civil society, Balkans, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia, South Eastern Europe
A Krasteva & N Vladisavljević ‘Securitisation versus citizenship in the Balkan states: Populist and authoritarian misuses of security threats and civic responses’ (2017) 1 Global Campus Human Rights Journal 373

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