Political Regime Developments in Southeast Europe - International Conference

Event date
May 5-6, 2022
Brussels, hybrid - Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB)
Short description

Despite democratic stagnation, the undermining of checks and balances and the attraction of support via ethnopopulism and clientelism in some cases, the ascendance of would-be authoritarian elites has happened during a phase of sustained economic growth and regime stability. Ultimately, regional autocrats have managed to present themselves as pragmatic leaders, capable of providing solutions to severe crises, such as refugee waves or the COVID-19 pandemic.

This kind of political regime, termed as “stabilitocracy” by scholars dealing with the region, has provided autocratic-minded leaders in SEE with a high degree of external and internal legitimacy. Even EU institutions, traditionally portrayed as unquestioned democratizing actors, nowadays refrain from promptly condemning autocratic practices in SEE. Furthermore, they have sometimes legitimized autocrats and their parties by advancing the enlargement process even in the absence of tangible democratic reforms, in the quest of security at the European borders. 


This conference will investigate the challenging variety of political regime developments that SEE has experienced since the 2010s. It shall serve the purpose of addressing not only different paths of democratization and autocratization, but also the plurality of multidimensional nuances and dynamic configurations related to regime developments, more generally. Quantitative or qualitative, comparative or single-case examinations will be equally welcomed. We aim therefore to explore new avenues of research and involve researchers working on different aspects of the components of political regimes in SEE, and the causes, effects or correlates thereof. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

•    Democratization/autocratization processes (including resistance to autocratization, subnational tendencies, intra-regional patterns, etc.);
•    EU integration (pre- and post-accession conditionality) and its relation to stabilitocracy, linkages with European transnational federations of parties, influence of single members; 
•    International actors with an alternative agenda to the EU’s (Russia, China, Gulf states) and regional integration initiatives (such as Open Balkan, Craiova Group);
•    State and economic structures: multilevel politics and secessionism, institutional change (electoral laws, office term limits), neoliberal economy and authoritarian capitalism, clientelism, post-Yugoslav legacies;
•    Social cleavages: socioeconomic, ethnic/religion/linguistic/majority-minority/nationalist, regional, gender/sexual orientation-based, generational inequalities and their polarization;
•    Contentious and party politics in hybrid regimes: ethnopopulist and challenger parties, social movements resisting autocratization, non-electoral political competition (political/ economic/military elites);   
•    Recent challenges: COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, migration.

Please write to the abovementioned emails for further information.

As the conference will be a hybrid event, panelists will have the opportunity to attend the conference in person in Brussels or intervene remotely. More up-to-date information will be provided closer to the event.

Geographical focus
  • Western Balkans
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Social Sciences
Event type
  • Conference in EU/international
  • Webinar

Entry created by Admin WBC-RTI.info on May 3, 2022
Modified on May 3, 2022