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[balkans] Security Conference at SSEES, London

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  • Peter Siani-Davies
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 2, 2000
      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
      security.conference@...

      *************************************************************************


      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
      security terms?

      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
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