10 – 11 June 2005   print this page

Conference organizers:

Sabrina P. Ramet, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway

Konrad Clewing, Sudost Institut, Munich, Germany

Reneo Lukic, Laval University, Quebec, Canada

Conference description:

Nearly 10 years after the Dayton Peace Accords, the time is ripe to take stock of Croatia's post-war development and, in particular, to assess the progress being made toward establishing a stable democracy with a stable economic life. The task of building democracy, in a post-authoritarian setting, has been exhaustively theorized by such scholars as Jack Snyder, Enrique Baloyra, Guillermo Q"Donnell, Philippe C. Schmitter, Laurence Whitehead, Juan Linz, Alfred Stepan, Erika Harris, and Adam Przeworski, to mention just a few. What emerges from this literature is that successful democratization depends upon a number of variables, including the nature of such nationalism as is fostered, the degree to which the elites are corrupt or committed to the fight against corruption, the electoral system itself, the successful separation of powers, the role played by the media (including such obvious matters as whether the media report accurately what is said to them), and the degree to which the rule of law is respected. In the case of Croatia, the communist legacy and the War of Yugoslav Succession (the Domovinski Rat) have also had an enormous impact on probably all aspects of the democratic transition. When communism collapsed across Central and Eastern Europe in 1989-90, local elites embraced the challenge of guiding their systems toward some form of pluralism. Constitutional committees were appointed to study other nations' constitutions and draft new constitutional documents; foreign jurists, legislators, constitutional experts, and scholars were consulted; and local legislatures undertook the gargantuan task of completely overhauling the legal system and restructuring the government itself. Some challenges were anticipated (such as the disputes over privatization and the risk of the impoverishment of pensioners); other challenges came as a surprise to at least some of the elites in the region (such as disproportionate female impoverishment, combined with the rise of prostitution rings operating in Moldova, Macedonia, Albania, and elsewhere, and the spread of the Russian mafia and local mafias); and still other challenges were the result of choices made by local politicians themselves or other influential persons (such as high levels of corruption in most societies in the region, conflicts over the degree to which the laws of the land and offerings at school should reflect religious values and the preferences of local hierarchs, and, in the Yugoslav area, the Serbian Insurrectionary War of 1991-95). In the Yugoslav region, the aspiration to transform the system in the direction of political pluralism and free enterprise was rendered more complex by the outbreak of war in 1991. In the course of nearly a decade of fighting, private capital was diverted into the hands of local mafias and criminal gangs (a problem in Serbia, Macedonia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina especially), nationalism became an essential part of the educational system in Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, the media became the vehicles for a proliferation of negative ethnic stereotypes in these same republics, and interethnic tolerance frequently became a casualty of the the war. If liberal democracy is to succeed in the region, the establishment of a liberal political culture is critical to the enterprise. Yet for more than 40 years, the Yugoslav communists propounded a specific set of values which, even today, have left a variety of legacies, including tendencies to look to the state to solve economic problems, to polarize along the religious divide (clerical vs. anti-clerical), and to expect the state to fund the cultural needs of ethnic minorities. The decade of warfare in the region (1991-now) has also made a contribution to values, above all by effecting an equation between loyalty to one's own nation and hatred of other nations. Ethnic nationalism not only is not the same as civic-mindedness; it is, in fact, corrosive of civic-mindedness. What we propose to do is to bring together scholars from Canada, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Norway, and the USA to review and analyze politics in Croatia since 1995. Convinced that the problematic of democratization can be best analyzed if the analytic net is cast widely, we propose to include not only papers on domestic politics, but also papers on economic life, cultural life, society, and even foreign policy all of which both reflect and affect Croatia's progress toward democratic life. Day 1Panel 1: CROATIA IN THE 21ST CENTURY (9:0011:30)Chair: Konrad ClewingPapers: Challenges facing Croatia after 1995 (An Introduction) Sabrina P. RametCivil-Military Relations in Croatia, 19902005 Reneo LukićAmerican-Croatian Relations in the 1990s Jean-Franois Morel [to be read by Knut Vesterdal]Lunch (11:3013:00)Panel 2: RELATIONS WITH EU MEMBER STATES (13:0015:30)Chair: Reneo Lukić Papers: Croatian--German relations Konrad ClewingCroatian--British relations Carole Hodge Croatia and France Miro Kovač Flexitime (15:3016:00)Panel 3: POPULAR CULTURE (16:0018:30)Chair: Sabrina P. RametPapers: Secular and Religious Shrines in Croatia Ivo anić Contemporary Croatian Literature Gordana CrnkovićGays & lesbians in Croatia Dean VuletićDay 2Panel 4: SOCIETY (10:0012:30)Chair: Jim SadkovichPapers: Linguistic reform Boris NeusiusAnti-fascism minus communism Renata Jambreić The Impact of the War on the Economy Bruno SchoenfelderLunch (12:3014:00)Panel 5: RELIGION, NATIONALISM, & LEADERSHIP (14:0016:30)Chair: Bruno SchoenfelderPapers: Franjo Tudjman: An intellectual in politics James J. Sadkovich Church, Society, & Politics in Croatia since 1995 Vjekoslav Perica & Ankica Marinovic-BobinacUnderground Anti-nationalism in the Nationalist Era Gordana CrnkovićFlexitime (16:3017:00)Panel 6: RELATIONS WITH OTHER YUGOSLAV SUCCESSOR STATES (17:0019:00)Chair: Gordana CrnkovićPapers: Croatian-Bosnian relations Dunja MelčićCroatian relations with Serbia and Montenegro Reneo Lukić Note: The program is organized on the basis of 30 minutes per paper presentation and one hour for discussion. Because the schedule is very full, it will NOT be possible for presenters to acquire the time of presentations which are canceled. For example, if one presenter does not make his/her presentation where three hours have been scheduled for that panel, the panel will be shortened to 2 hours; it will NOT be possible for one of the other members of that panel to present for an hour, on the justification that the time has been made available or to privilege that panel by allocating 90 minutes for discussion instead of the standard 60. Panelists who find that the time allowed for the panels is insufficient for their ruminations are not required to eat lunch or to take the afternoon break, and may, on the contrary, continue their discussions during that time period. The reason for calling the afternoon break flexitime, and for allowing 30 minutes for that flexitime, is precisely to signal that this is a time for flexibility. All panels will start on time so that, when 19:00 arrives, we are able to end our work. Few participants are likely to be gratified if we were to be compelled to listen to papers until 23:00 and wait until nearly midnight to sit down for dinner. By agreement of the organizers, all presentations should be in English. Those presentations which are made in other languages, will be translated into English. By agreement of the organizers and bearing in mind the full schedule, there will be no additional time allocated for presentations in languages other than English, which means that if a presenter should choose to present in Croatian, for example, that presenter will have, in effect, 15 minutes for presenting, allowing 15 minutes for translation. There will be no smoking allowed in the conference room or anywhere on the second floor.Jens Reuter, Dunja Melčić, Davorka Matić, and Milan Andrejevich will not attend the conference, but will write their chapters and submit them by an agreed deadline.