Captured Societies in Southeast Europe
Networks of Trust and Control
In Southeast Europe there is a big disjunction between formal procedures and informal practices—and this gap is growing. When formal institutions fail, informal practices can solve problems. These practices can be viewed critically, as a space for favoritism and corruption, or favorably, as a space of creative problem-solving. In any case, informal practices consolidate the hold of unaccountable actors on power.
This book presents findings from a collaborative and multidisciplinary research project. During a three-year exercise, a group of forty researchers looked at the world of informal practices in nine countries of Southeast Europe. The main strength in their procedures is the reciprocal modification and cross-checking between interviews and media, and the assemblage of comparative quantitative data.
In the context of a mismatch between "the way the world is" and the world as described by law, the Balkans add a unique perspective due to a persistent deficit in state legitimacy and capacity. The underlying agenda is to bring Southeast Europe into line with European liberal democracy. The emerging evidence offers a critical assessment of "Europeanization" processes that produce only superficial changes and formal institutional resolutions. The book offers a rich analysis of the array of informal practices that people in the Balkans have resorted to in compensation for the poor implementation of formal reforms.
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