Census Politics and Ethnicity in the Western Balkans

8. Gëzim Visoka and Elvin Gjevori (2013), ‘Census Politics and Ethnicity in the Western Balkans’, East European Politics, 29(4): 479-498.

This article investigates how census politics in the Western Balkans take the form of a political device to entrench or transform ethnic demographics, which can have implications for cooperation and reciprocity between neighbouring states. We argue that the contingency of census politics spring from a trinomial interaction between actors claiming to represent the dominant nationalising state, national minority, and external homeland. Building on this triangulation, this article explores the interaction between the dominance of the nationalizing states, the influence of the national minority, and the interest/interference of the external homeland in the 2011 censuses in Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. The article illustrates how census-taking is a highly politicised process in a region with hostile political dynamics, which revealed the unstable and contested nature of citizenship, ethnic belonging, weak civic identity, and fragile regional relations.


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