[Conference Munich] "'The State is Us...' Protest against Large-Scale (Construction) Projects in Southeast Europe"

04.11.2015 - 2015-11-05

November 4-5, 2015 the conference "'The State is Us...' Protest against Large-Scale (Construction) Projects in Southeast Europe", which is organized by the Südosteuropa-Gesellschaft in co-operation with the Regional Research Promotion Programme Western Balkans will take place in Munich.

Time: November 4-5, 2015

Location: IBZ München Internationales Begegnungszentrum der Wissenschaft (IBZ Munich), Amalienstr. 38, 80333 München

Conference Language: English

The region of Southeast Europe is home to manifold preserved cultural and natural landscapes including rare and endangered plant and animal species and an exceptional biodiversity. Touristic potentials, treasures of the soil and other natural resources are some of the reasons why the countries of this region became business locations increasingly sought after until the end of the socialist era. In former state monopoly sectors new domestic and foreign stakeholders / interest groups entered into profit-oriented competition. At the same time a big international environmental problem, the question of the management and the final storage of (hazardous) waste, is becoming increasingly topical in Southeast Europe. Besides questions concerning the disposal of the waste produced in the countries themselves problems in connection with the dumping of polluting substances by foreign actors surface.

Protest emerged to call attention to the perceived risks for humans and the environment and to put pressure on the project managers and the political decision making processes.

By means of selected country and case studies the conference will provide information on forms of resistance against different kinds of large-scale (construction) projects from an analytic and also from a practical perspective: In Bulgaria, large-scale construction projects of the tourist industry frequently provoke protest. In Romania protests against big mining projects have attracted public attention. In Albania projects concerning the construction of micro-hydro power plants as well as questions regarding the final storage of (hazardous) waste represent important protest issues.

The following questions will be the main focus of the contributions and the discussion:

  • Which actors / constellations of actors, which forms of mobilization, which forms of protest are identifiable?

  • Which are the contents of the protesters` criticism and discourses?

  • Which developments of the protests are traceable?

  • Is it possible to assess the impact of the protests?

  • In what way are country-specific and thematic characteristics visible, to what extent is it possible to draw conclusions as to overall patterns and commonalities of the resistance?

A closing panel discussion has the aim of debating the international framework conditions and the transnational aspects of the criticism against the management of natural resources.

The aims of the conference are:

  • The distribution of knowledge regarding a sphere of conflict and protest in the region of Southeast Europe which has been largely ignored

  • A contribution to the networking of active / interested stakeholders

  • The stimulation of critical discussions as to the framework conditions and the possibilities

    and limits of the handling of natural resources.

    The conference is organized by the German Southeast Europe Association in co-operation with the Regional Research Promotion Program in the Western Balkans (RRPP) under the guidance of the University of Fribourg.

Conference Team:

Dr. Sonja Schüler, Research and Teaching Assistant, University of Fribourg / CH

Dr. Hansjörg Brey, Executive Director, Southeast Europe Association

Inquiries / Registration: Participation free of charge / number of participants is restricted Please apply to info@sogde.org

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