The past decade in the Western Balkans has seen a proliferation of civic initiatives and protest. They have focused on a variety of issues, ranging from the destruction of urban space, environmental destruction, to corruption scandals, and even unresolved murders. Whereas their success has varied, they showed that many citizens in the region are deeply dissatisfied with the lack of accountability of the ruling regimes, and ready to actively engage in their societies. Local civic initiatives and new forms of civic engagement prove to be worthy of further attention for exploring democratization potentials in the region. With their focus on tangible and concrete issues affecting that are affecting the daily lives of citizens, they have a high mobilization potential and ability to cut across ethnic divides and enhance citizens’ sense of agency. Even with limited impact achieved or fast dissipation, they nevertheless create a new momentum in the public discourse and collective memory, from which the new opportunity structures emerge for future possible changes.
Unleashing the Potential for Change through Social Movements and Civic Initiatives
18 January, 2022