Annual Conference of the Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities-Skopje
Skopje 17-18 January 2014 / Cultural Informative Center (KIC)
“NATIONAL IDENTITY AS CENTRAL POLITICAL CONCERN: THE CASE OF SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE AND ITS COMPETING MYTHS OF ORIGIN”
Confirmed speakers: Richard Seymour, Akis Gavriilidis, Florian Bieber, Svetlana Slapshak, Bozidar Slapshak, Neda Korunovska, Goran Janev, Goran Buldioski, Igor Jovanoski, Katerina Kolozova, Artan Sadiku and members of ISSHS faculty.
The main idea behind the conference:
In the last two decades, the region of Southeast Europe – not only the Western Balkans – has been marked by a politics based on the pronounced primacy of the issue of national identity over other socio-political questions. National identity as an issue per se entails material cultural and academic processes aiming at the construction and fixing of an idea and a sense of a collective. These processes work through the means of recognition, legitimization and symbolic production that maintains, enriches and perpetuates the representation of the national self. Artistic production, academic re-creation of the national truth and re-production of the cultural symbolic (essentially patriarchal) in the fields of humanities are at work in the institutions of the state, in public and private universities and media. Ample evidence in terms of material culture and recorded public discourse corroborates our claim that the question of national identity determines the course of politics, nationally and internationally, in Macedonia but also in neighboring Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Kosovo. k8This implies that the issue of political integration of the entire region of SEE, including Western Balkans, is not one which can be dealt with through political means senso strictu or technocratically. It is a process which requires complex understanding and study of critical cultural and cross-disciplinary analytical approach which entails cultural-esthetical critique and the inclusion of gender perspective aiming at policy solutions which address the complex reality at stake. Another issue that needs to be addressed is the fact that the unambiguous interpellation to fidelity to the national collective unity to which both the political right and left respond in an almost identical way paralyses any productive political debate on all other social-political themes. Avoiding the label of a traitor in a country that feels threatened by negation of its very self becomes the political imperative which conditions the way in which all other issues are addressed. In Macedonia, the esthetical-cultural project “Skopje 2014” overshadows all other themes in Macedonian political debate; in Greece, the “Macedonian question” was the only one which could bring Syriza close to the positions of the political center (both left and right) as it unities opposed political forces in Bulgaria. The Kosovo question is still central to the Serbian political discourse in spite of the fact that Republic of Kosovo has functioned as an independent country since 2008. And these are just a few among many examples in the region of post-Yugoslavia and its neighbors.
To register, please write to: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org; or call: +389 3113 059. Registration deadline: 15 January 2014.
Please, fetch the agenda of the conference here: