A Concept that is Everything and Nothing: Why Not to Study (Post-)Yugoslav Anti-War and Pacifist Contention from a Civil Society Perspective Cover Image

Pojam koji predstavlja sve i ništa: zašto ne proučavati (post)jugoslovenski antiratni i mirovni angažman iz perspektive civilnog društva
A Concept that is Everything and Nothing: Why Not to Study (Post-)Yugoslav Anti-War and Pacifist Contention from a Civil Society Perspective

Author(s): Bojan Bilić
Subject(s): Social Sciences
Published by: Sociološko udruženje Srbije i Crne Gore
Keywords: Civil society; post-Yugoslav anti-war engagement

Summary/Abstract: This paper draws upon a variety of empirical sources to start critically examining the concept of civil society in the context of both (post-)Yugoslav anti-war and pacifist contention and the civic engagement stemming from it in the nationally fragmented post-Yugoslav space. I argue that civil society can no longer be meaningfully used for understanding the complex geometry of social, political and personal interactions, cooperations and resistances within the regional civic spheres characterised by appreciable power asymmetries. Its definitional volatility and logical incoherence allow civil society to incorporate ideologically and historically extremely divergent phenomena. Due to its conceptual elasticity, civil society is a cognitively easily available device and a de-politicised theoretical paradigm convenient for masking power networks frequently conditioned by foreign political agendas. This paper points to possible alternative perspectives that might prove more productive for analysing (post-)Yugoslav bottom-up civic engagement.

  • Issue Year: 53/2011
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 297-322
  • Page Count: 26
  • Language: English