[balkans] Security Conference at SSEES, London
- The Centre for South-East European Studies at the School of Slavoinc and
East European Studies, University College London is planning to hold on
the 16-17 June 2000 a conference on security in the Balkans. The full
announcement of the conference and call-for-papers follows below but
please note that proposals for papers of no more than 150 words should be
submitted before 31 March 2000. Any inquiries and all correspondence
relating to the conference should be addressed to
Centre for South-East European Studies
School of Slavonic and East European Studies,
University College London
Senate House, Malet Street, London. WC1E 7HU.
Balkan Security: Visions of the Future
After a decade of turbulence and war the search for sustainable security
in the Balkans remains a major concern not only for the inhabitants of
the region but also for the wider outside world. Recently, much attention
has been focussed on outside intervention and economic reconstruction but
in themselves these will not be sufficient to ensure the long-term
security of the region. Less attention has been paid to how the states
and peoples of the region perceive their own security needs and whether
security policies that are increasingly made at a global level really
reflect local concerns. This conference will attempt to explore these
issues by focussing on two key interrelated questions: 'what does
security mean in a Balkan context' and 'how is sustainable security in
the region to be achieved'?
Over recent years the concept of security has been redefined to encompass
the wider needs of what has been termed 'societal security'. In an
interdependent world economic, social and environmental issues are now
seen as being the equal of military might in assessing vulnerabilities,
the likelihood of confrontation and the security needs of a given state.
Critical security studies have also deepened the concept of security to
embrace the individual and group alongside the state within a wider
understanding of stable security as a process of emancipation from
threats and fears. Yet, despite the widespread acceptance of these
expanded notions of security, significant questions remain unanswered as
to how this theoretical modeling is to be linked to practical security on
the ground. A prime aim of this conference will be to explore the linkage
between the theoretical and the practical in a Balkan context.
The Yugoslav wars mean that until now security in the Balkans has usually
been viewed in more traditional, military, terms but with the ending of
the conflict in Kosovo this would now seem to be an appropriate time to
undertake a reassessment. The conference will consider how the states of
the region and people who inhabit them assess their own security needs at
the dawn of the twenty-first century. Are the security concerns of the
past likely to dominate the future? How will security agendas that still
mostly reflect the concerns of the state meet group and individual needs?
The attention of Balkan policy makers is increasingly shifting towards
issues such as organised crime, cross border trafficking, immigration and
environmental pollution, as well as the defence of national identity,
with one national security doctrine within the region even giving special
emphasis to 'cybernetic war'. What does this shift mean in practical
The conference will also consider how security might be fostered in the
Balkans at the individual, group, state and regional level. Security
studies have traditionally focussed at the state and interstate level yet
many initiatives in the Balkans are being implemented at the community
level. What is to be the relationship between state and group and
individual security, between global and local initiatives? Are low-level
initiatives going to create a sustainable security environment or can
this only be produced at an interstate or regional level? Are the hopes
for large-scale group reconciliation after so much conflict realistic?
Large areas of the Balkans are now under the supervision of international
mandates. Will such international intervention lay the ground for a
sustainable security environment in the Balkans, or, are initiatives from
what has grown to be a veritable peacekeeping industry merely
substituting local structures? How are global initiatives to achieve
local resonance? Can regionally based initiatives mediate? What form are
such initiatives likely to take?
Although much attention will inevitably be paid to Albania, Macedonia,
Bosnia-Herzegovina and Yugoslavia, in particular Kosovo, we wish also to
encourage papers considering other countries in the region and in
particular those which offer a comparative or a theoretical approach.
The conference, which is the second of the annual international
conferences in South-East European Studies organised by the Centre for
South-East European Studies, will be held on the 16-17 June 1999 at the
School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London.
The organisers are particularly keen in attracting the widest possible
participation from academics, policy makers, and members of the media, as
well as people involved in security issues on the ground, and invite
proposals for papers of no more than 100 words.
The proceedings of the conference will be published in book form.
Participants are asked to prepare their contributions for advanced
distribution (both electronic and hard copy). Participants will have 20
minutes to deliver their papers; discussion will follow. The selection of
papers will be the responsibility of the conference board. The conference
language is English. Young scholars are particularly encouraged to submit
proposals. Limited funding may be available for travel and accommodation
with priority given to scholars coming from the Balkans. The deadline for
proposals is 31 March 2000.
For further information please contact:
Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers and Peter Siani-Davies by email at
security.conference@... or visit the website of the Centre for
South-East European Studies at http://www.ssees.ac.uk/seecent.ht