News archive - [Event Review] INFORM inaugural workshop

The INFORM inaugural workshop took place in London on 29-30 September 2016 at the premises of the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies.

Southeast Europe has seen a century of continuous transformation and “transition” – the disappearance and emergence of states, political and legal systems, ideologies, institutions, and social classes. This has been accompanied by a stability of social practices resistant to change. Shaken by radically changing ideological and legal structures, citizens rely on customary and informal social networks of kin, symbolic kin, and friends for meeting economic needs, and on clan- or kin-related structures rather than the rule of law for security and protection. Informal practices' persistence was traced to:

  1. the external origin of major transformations, including the “transitions” to and from socialism;
  2. the incomplete character of change, which has tended to be replaced by equally radical but diametrically opposed projects;
  3. the development of a buffer culture based on informal practices, directed to enabling people to survive under unstable conditions; and
  4. the widening gap between formal institutions and informal social practices.

The distance between proclaimed goals and existing practices represents the key challenge to the European integration of Balkan societies. The integration process could end with superficial change, behind which the ""real"" social life of corruption, clientelism, tension, inequality, and exclusion will continue to unfold. The event proposed to explicate the key formal and informal “rules of the game”, and identified and deciphered the ""unwritten rules"" which underpin tactical maneuvering between formal and informal institutions, in various spheres and at various levels of social life.

These was then compared to the demands and recommendations laid out in the key EU documents outlining expectations from Southeast European states. The goal was to contribute to the formulation of policy recommendations which would aim not to eradicate informal practices, but to close the gap between formal and informal institutions in Balkan societies.

Participant institutions: University College London (UK), Institut za Etnologiju I Folkloristiku (Croatia), University of Maribor (Slovenia), Center for Intradisciplinary Applied Social Research (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Center for Emprical Cultural Studies of Southeast Europe (Serbia), Institute for Democracy “Societas Civilis” Skopje (Macedonia), Qendra e Kerkimive Historike dhe Antropologjike (Albania), Social Research Kosovo (Kosovo), Rigas Stradina Universitate (Latvia)


Source: INFORM

Geographical focus
  • H2020
  • Western Balkans
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary

Entry created by Anna Sirocco on November 17, 2016
Modified on November 17, 2016