Jessica Greenberg, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication Studies, Northwestern University
on Monday, February 22 at 3pm
Anthropology Building (1810 Hinman Ave), Seminar Room 104
Dr. Greenberg will be presenting the following:
After the Revolution: Youth, Democracy and the Politics of
Disappointment in Postsocialist Serbia
On October 5, 2000 the citizens of Serbia staged a mass democratic
revolution on the streets of Belgrade. Hundreds of thousands of people
poured into the capital demanding in signs, songs, whistles and chants
that Slobodan Milošević accept electoral defeat and step down as the
country’s leader. Democratic activists, opposition leaders, and
students had overcome ten long years of authoritarian control of
government and media to bring democracy to Serbia. In the years
leading up to the revolution, student democratic activists became a
symbol of hope, courage and energy in Serbia and internationally.
October 5th marked both the high point and the end of the love affair
with these young revolutionaries. Two years later, when I began my
research with student activists, their image had been tarnished.
Former opposition members, government ministers, and media figures
dismissed student groups as at best irritating and at worst corrupt.
For many people, inside and outside the country, Serbia’s
revolutionary tale was one of hope turned to disappointment, promise
to failure. In narrating their hopes for a democratic future, people
had drawn on the images and discourses of youth protest. “After the
Revolution” traces the history and significance of revolutionary and
post-revolutionary political expectations in order to demonstrate how
disappointment shapes Serbia’s emerging democracy. Democratic failure
in Serbia was produced when both local and international actors judged
post-revolutionary democracy in terms of expectations generated in the
crucible of the student-led revolution. Democratic youth
revolutionaries promised positive political transformation and a more
hopeful future for Serbian citizens. But actual democracy delivered
poverty, social unrest and factional struggle. I will demonstrate how
youth and student activists have become metonymic for the movement
from hope to disappointment in newly democratic Serbia.
A reception will follow the event. All are welcome.