Bojan Baća is awarded twice for his research on civil society in post-socialist Europe

Bojan Baća, a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the Department of Sociology and Work Science and researcher at the University of Montenegro, won no less than two prizes during the autumn. The awards were given for his research on civil society in post-socialist countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

Bojan Baća.
Dr. Bojan Baća.

The Routledge Area Studies Interdisciplinary Award was given to Bojan Baća for his two projects "Measuring Civic Engagement, Political Participation, and Social Activism in Central and Eastern Europe: Towards a Comprehensive Index" and "Ordinary Institutions, Extraordinary Actions: Towards a Process-Practice Oriented Approach to Postsocialist Civil Society Building", which spawned two companion piece articles (the article "Enacting Resistance, Performing Citizenship: Trajectories of Political Subjectification in the Post-Democratic Condition" has been published in the academic journal Sociology and the other one is referenced below). The other award Bojan Baća has received is the Zagorka Golubović Engaged Research Award. It was awarded to him for the article "Practice Theory and Postsocialist Civil Society: Toward a New Analytical Framework" which has been published in the scientific journal International Political Sociology.

My focus in the awarded research is twofold: on the one hand, I look into the ways in which civil society is built through civic activism and protest politics in postsocialist Central and Eastern Europe; and on the other, I investigate the questions of why and how citizens "become political" through these collective actions, says Bojan Baća.

He explains that his research is inspired by and builds on work by his supervisor Kerstin Jacobsson, Professor at the Department of Sociology and Work Science.

– As such, it contributes to moving the research agenda away from abstract, universalist, and normative assumptions of what civil society should be in favor of an embedded, contextual, and critical understanding of what it actually is. Simultaneously, by rendering the "postsocialist (historical) experience" relevant for knowledge-production, my work opens venues for theorizing not only about, but also from the "postsocialist condition" of civil societies in Central and Eastern Europe. 

Read more about the awards and Bojan Baća's research via the links below.

About the awards

Motivation for the Routledge Area Studies Interdisciplinarity Award: 
Dr. Baća’s impressive research project is original and innovative, making a significant contribution to understanding the complexity and diversity of civil society in post-socialist countries in Central and Eastern Europe. The strong regional focus of Dr. Baća’s research project challenges a static view of the region, providing a deeper understanding of political action and democracy in the post-socialist arena. Demonstrating a serious engagement with, and fusion of, Political Science and Social Movement Studies, this interdisciplinary project engages with a broad range of sub-disciplines including political sociology, anthropology, and political geography. The research has the potential to broaden our understanding of what is actually happening in terms of voluntary action in the regions concerned, and may lead to a more analytically nuanced and innovative understanding of public life in post-Communist polities. The conceptual framework and the tools provided to refine current research are both accomplished and insightful, with the findings relevant for a variety of social scientists.

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Motivation for the Zagorka Golubović Engaged Research Award:
The Committee concluded that this research paper represents a synthesis of theoretical and empirical findings on civil society, social movements, protest politics, activist citizenship and unconventional political participation in Central and Eastern Europe; moreover, it displays a critical reflection that offers a new analytical framework for overcoming theoretical, conceptual and empirical dilemmas as well as extant problems in the existing literature primarily in terms of better identifying, describing and understanding the empirical reality of social engagement in post-socialist countries. The paper emphasizes the necessity of moving away from an abstract, universalistic and normative approach towards a rooted, contextual and critical understanding of post-socialist civil societies. As such, it provokes reflection and encourages action by bringing into focus protest practices that challenge dominant narratives, approaches and theories. With its high scientific quality, orientation towards engaged thinking and treatment of a topic which is of broad social importance, Bojan Baća’s paper responds in the best possible way to the propositions of the call for the “Zagorka Golubović” Annual Award.

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