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Embracing Democracy in the Western Balkans

, 560 pages

3 figures

October 2011



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Embracing Democracy in the Western Balkans

From Postconflict Struggles toward European Integration

2012 Outstanding Academic Title, Choice Magazine

Embracing Democracy in the Western Balkans offers a comparative, cross-regional study of the politics and economics of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Albania from 1999 to the present. It was during this period that the first wave of post-communist regime transition ended and the region became more deeply involved in the challenges of democratic consolidation.

Lenard J. Cohen and John R. Lampe explore the legacies of communist rule, the impact of incentives and impediments on reform, and the magnetic pull of European Union accession. The authors ask whether the Western Balkans are embracing democracy by creating functional, resilient institutions—governmental, administrative, journalistic, and economic—and fostering popular trust in the legitimacy of those institutions.

Lenard J. Cohen is a professor of international studies at Simon Fraser University and author of Serpent in the Bosom: The Rise and Fall of Slobodan Milosevic. John R. Lampe is a professor of history at the University of Maryland. He is a Senior Scholar and the former Director of East European Studies at the Woodrow Wilson Center and author of Yugoslavia as History: Twice There Was a Country.

"This book presents new information which is the result of recent research. The scholarship is superior. The authors have addressed almost all of the relevant topics in a discussion of democratization and integration."

"Impressively researched, well-written, carefully documented and closely reasoned."

"Cohen and Lampe analyze the unsteady path toward democracy in the western Balkans... In a welcome change from convention, the book is structured around thematic chapters rather than country case studies. The topics include constitutional structures, public administration, civil society, political parties, economic reform, social structure, and popular values... The book is written in a clear, accessible style... A valuable overview for advanced students, and will be required reading for any government or nongovernmental organization official venturing into the Balkans."

"An impressive achievement that offers a valuable resource for specialists and non-specialists seeking a detailed survey of the region in the post-2000 era. It also advances a growing effort to incorporate the Western Balkans into the subfield of comparative politics and democratization literature."

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