5 June 2019

Thus Spoke the People: Public Discourse in Belgrade's Politika on the Eve of Yugoslav Wars

During the impresso talk, Josip Glaurdić and Michal Mochtak, from the ELWar project (Electoral Legacies of War: Political Competition in Postwar Southeast Europe), presented the sources and tools they mobilised to study the public discourse in the pre-war Yugoslavia.

In the summer of 1988, in the midst of Yugoslavia’s crisis which ultimately led to its dissolution and wars, the Belgrade daily “Politika” opened its pages to readers’ comments. It was an unprecedented editorial decision for the largest broadsheet in this still socialist country. “Politika” was flooded with letters from their predominantly Serb readership from all over the country.

During the three years which followed, it published this outpouring of accusations and protests against Serbia’s enemies – real and imagined, domestic and foreign, contemporary and historical – in the form of more than four thousand letters.

Using the latest advances in natural language processing and a unique dataset on the characteristics of the letters’ authors, we analyse this corpus of unprecedented significance and provide crucial insights not only on the history of Yugoslavia’s breakup, but also on the sources and patterns of the discourse of grievance and animosity in the run up to a violent conflict.

28-30 May 2019

Western Balkans Process - 5th Joint Science Conference

Josip Glaurdic participated as an invitee ad personam at the 5th Joint Science Conference of the Western Balkans Process / Berlin Process, which was organised jointly by the Royal Society of the United Kingdom and the Leopoldina. The conference brought together around 60 high-level representatives of national academies of sciences and arts, rectors’ conferences and leading universities and research organisations as well as distinguished scientists and science managers invited ad personam from the 16 Berlin Process countries. The programme also featured a political outreach together with the London-based embassies of the involved countries and with senior government and European Commission representatives. Participation was only possible upon invitation. The conference prepared formal recommendations to the Heads of State and Government meeting at the Western Balkans Summit in Poznań on 5 July 2019. Entitled “Fresh Expectations for Research and Education across Europe”, the conference focused on the social responsibility of science and communicating scientific findings.

23 May 2019

Workshop on Authoritarian Backsliding, Electoral Misconduct and Violence

Dr Michal Mochtak presented the paper  “Mythologising War: Legacies of Conflict in Croatian Parliament Debates”. The paper analyses almost fifteen years of Croatian parliament debates and identifies what can be called a discourse of war legacies. Using the latest advancements in natural language processing, the paper utilizes latent semantic indexing models and discusses how politicians talk about war in terms of common narratives and shared frameworks. People, places, and organisations directly connected with Croatia’s war past are examined in their average contexts. Using a complex vector representation of war-related concepts, the paper specifically focuses on their framing in the context of right-wing authoritarianism (RWA). The results show that war past is predominantly shaped by discourse of war veterans who often dominate the war-related agenda. We can also observe a very disturbing trend of pushing the most frequent war concepts to a more extreme framing as a potential reflection of their effective utilisation as a political tool.

19-20 September 2018

The third PROSEPS General Meeting in Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) at the Faculty of Political Science

The Proseps projects aims to build a broad network of scholars studying internationalisation and social impact of political science. During the third PROSEPS General Meeting, which took place in Sarajevo, the valorisation of the project’s data was discussed, and ideas for papers and edited values were presented. Christophe Lesschaeve took part in these discussions and proposed to write a paper on the relation between the involvement of political scientists in the media and their academic output; investigating whether there is a paradox of visibility: the more political scientists appear in the media, the less academic work they produce.



25 AUGUST 2018

Understanding Electoral Violence Through Complex Textual Data: 20 Years of OSCE Monitoring Missions

ELWar team member Dr. Michal Mochtak presented his latest article at the ECPR General Conference in Hamburg, Germany. The Paper analyses more than 20 years of evidence on electoral violence as reported by OSCE monitoring mission reports. It identifies prevailing trends of electoral violence in Europe, North America, and parts of Asia in order to better understand how the phenomenon is understood and framed by one of the most important international monitoring organisations in the region. The analysis utilises a unique approach based on automated content analysis employing counting algorithms and latent semantic indexing. The analysis is based on an original corpus consisting of 362 documents and more than 8000 pages of text.  The results of the analysis show how the phenomenon of electoral violence has changed in the past 20 years and how the textual data can be used for its better understanding.

15-16 FEBRUARY 2018

Election Violence Research Workshop, University of Amsterdam

The Election Violence Research Workshop held at the University of Amsterdam brought together contributors to examine conceptual boundaries and ambiguities in work on election violence, local and national dynamics in election violence, the choice of violence compared to other strategies, the mechanisms linking armed conflict and elections, the institutional origins of election violence, and consequences of violence for voter turnout and vote choice. It was the opportunity for ELWar team member Michal Mochtak to present a paper on institutional roots of electoral violence in the Western Balkans which is currently under review in one of the leading journals in the field and might be available online by the end of the year. Michal Mochtak is the author of Electoral Violence in the Western Balkans, From Voting to Fighting and Back (2018, Routledge). Under ELWar project, he is responsible for the agenda concerning political parties and political competition.

13 October 2017

Yugoslav Experience and the Future of the Region

Josip Glaurdic participated at the conference:Jugoslovensko iskustvo i buducnost regiona held in Belgrade and organised by the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia. The conference brought together historians and social scientists from the region to discuss the legacies of Yugoslavia for the political, social, and economic development of the region. The principal outcome of the project was the web platform yuhistorija.com presenting contributions by various experts on the different facets of Yugoslavia’s existence. Josip’s contribution is titled “In Pursuit of Unity: The West and the Breakup of Yugoslavia” and presents a condensed version of the main argument of his book The Hour of Europe.