Laughter and Tragedy of the Absurd: Identifying Common Characteristics of Balkan Comedies Under State Socialism

By: 
  • Ana Grgić
Comedy and comic conventions offer the possibility for laughter as a therapeutic and liberating force, as well as provide reflections on the absurdity of the everyday through the use of humour and chaos. This paper examines how Balkan comedies during the state socialist period used traditional comic conventions to offer critiques of the political and social systems, through analysis of three films: Ciguli Miguli (Branko Marjanović, Yugoslavia, 1952, released in 1977), Koncert në vitin 1936 (Concert in 1936, Saimir Kumbaro, Albania, 1978), and Господин за един ден (King for a Day, Nikolay Volev, Bulgaria, 1983).

Under the Banner of Pathé: Cinema in the Balkans in its Formative Years (1896-1912)

By: 
  • Karl Kaser
The French film company Pathé dominated the emerging international film market until the beginning of WWI. This analysis will concentrate on the relatively short time between the first film screenings in the region in 1896 and the outbreak of the First Balkan War in fall of 1912. Concretely, it will shed light on mobile and permanent cinema in the Balkans in a European context in the initial two subsections. The third part investigates, using the example of the Serbian capital Belgrade, whether and to what extent its population was prepared for this new visual adventure cinema. The fourth subsection, finally, analyses how the European film industry under the banner of Pathé developed and which role the cinema balkanica played in it.

Introduction: Films and Societies in Southeastern Europe

By: 
  • Armina Galijaš,
  • Hrvoje Paić
This special issue of Contemporary Southeastern Europe, titled Films and Societies in Southeastern Europe, is a collection of six research articles and one research essay that explore multiple current and historical relations between film productions and societal developments in Southeastern Europe. The issue collects articles written by renowned university professors as well as young highly promising researchers, including one PhD candidate, and thus the volume embraces academic experience together with innovative and fresh ideas and approaches. The seven authors use different academic perspectives including approaches from history, sociology, gender, visual, literature and film studies in order to reflect phenomena of film productions and related societal circumstances that have thus far been researched only rarely or not at all.

Populism from Below in the Balkans

By: 
  • Dario Brentin,
  • Tamara Pavasović Trošt
The last several years have witnessed a so-called “political earthquake” of populist successes in consolidated democracies throughout Europe. Populist movements and parties have manifested themselves most markedly through right-wing agendas including opposition to modernization, globalization, regional integration, immigration, appeals to working class fears of social decline, and resentment of elites. Consequently an entire body of literature has examined the basic tenets of populism, populist strategies and rhetoric, determinants of its success, and its effects on people, parties, and polities. Much of the social research on the issue however, both historical and contemporary, has been excessively focused on populism among elites and institutions.

Introduction: Gender and Geopolitics in the Eurovision Song Contest

By: 
  • Catherine Baker
From the vantage point of the early 1990s, when the end of the Cold War not only inspired the discourses of many Eurovision performances but created opportunities for the map of Eurovision participation itself to significantly expand in a short space of time, neither the scale of the contemporary Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) nor the extent to which a field of “Eurovision research” has developed in cultural studies and its related disciplines would have been recognisable. In 1993, when former Warsaw Pact states began to participate in Eurovision for the first time and Yugoslav successor states started to compete in their own right, the contest remained a one-night-per-year theatrical presentation staged in venues that accommodated, at most, a couple of thousand spectators and with points awarded by expert juries from each participating country.

Queer to be kind: Exploring Western media discourses about the “Eastern bloc” during the 2007 and 2014 Eurovision Song Contests

By: 
  • Alexej Ulbricht,
  • Indraneel Sircar,
  • Koen Slootmaeckers
This article examines the voting results and Western European media coverage of the 2007 and 2014 Eurovision Song Contests. The Austrian drag act Conchita Wurst (the alter ego of an openly gay man) won in 2014, whilst Serbian entrant Marija Šerifović, portrayed in Western European media as lesbian at the time, won in 2007. We first explore the extent to which there was an East-West voting divide in both contests. In 2014, while there was some elite hostility against Conchita in Eastern Europe, the popular support was on a similar level to that in Western Europe. In 2007, we find no significant geographic divide in support for Šerifović. However, when we examine mainstream UK and German media coverage during and after both contests, we find strong anti-Eastern European discourses that are at odds with the similarity in the public voting.

Doctus Perfectus, Homo Applicandus and Professor Fortuna

By: 
  • Karl Kaser
When the future or, more specifically, a redirection of South-East European studies is discussed in a series of essays in this journal, one has to have in mind that this is not the first discussion of this kind – and for sure not the concluding one. In an increasingly globalizing world, area studies are under permanent critical observation. What can particular findings related to an area contribute to the understanding of the whole, the global, and how is the global represented in the particularities of an area? However, this kind of critical self-reflection that can sometimes result in self-deprecation was not always the case in the long history of the study of South-East Europe.

The Politics of EU Enlargement Revisited - What conditions matter in the case of the EU’s South-Eastern enlargement?

By: 
  • Dorian Jano
There are considerable variations in the pace and speed of EU’s South-Eastern enlargement. Bulgaria and Romania joined European Union (EU) in 2007, Croatia became the 28th member-state only in July 2013 while the rest of the South-East European (SEE) countries are facing uncertainty about the time they will join the Union. The article revisits the previous debate on EU enlargement politics with the aim to uncover necessary and sufficient conditions that matter in the case of EU enlargement in South-East Europe. Our qualitative comparative analysis shows that having a liberal democracy as well as pro-enlargement EU member-states are both necessary conditions, if joined with the applicant’s achievement of the condition of a functional market economy and effective administrative capacities, can sufficiently derive into EU accession.