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Extremism and Violent Extremism in Serbia: 21-st Century Manifestations of an Historical Challenge

See the new edited volume by Valery Perry (ed.) - Ibidem Press/Columbia University Press, 2019

Extremism and Violent Extremism in Serbia: 21-st Century Manifestations of an Historical Challenge. Valery Perry (Ed.) Ibidem Press/Columbia University Press, 2019

The topics of extremism, violent extremism, and radicalization leading to terrorism have constituted an increasingly prominent area of policy interest and donor support in recent years, globally and in the western Balkans. This focus has been manifest through both an increased counterterrorism focus as well as efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism (P/CVE) – activities which often reflect peacebuilding and democratization strategies. The main manifestation of extremism of interest to foreign donors (and often domestic authorities) is ISIS-inspired violent jihadism. However, in many of the countries in the region, and in the case of Serbia, there are other forms of extremism – namely far-right nationalism, violent hooliganism, and neo-Nazi movements – that are often considered to be more of a threat, particularly as they are often viewed as examples of “normalized” political expression. The dynamics of reciprocal radicalization, in which competing extremisms feed off of, reinforce, and even need one another, can create seemingly intractable conflict spirals of escalation and violence.

This volume explores these dynamics in Serbia through original research and perspectives that demonstrate that Serbia is vulnerable to many types of extremism, which can best be prevented by achieving the liberal, democratic, rights-based reforms that have remained elusive for more than two decades. This broad and holistic approach is important for Serbia and its neighbors, as the security lens through which most research has been focused to date has done little to explain the deep and structural dynamics of radicalization and extremism in the region.

„This volume provides a comprehensive set of case studies, is well-documented and provides insightful work that is much needed to improve knowledge of these local and regional trends.“ Sonja Biserko, President, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia

„This book focuses on research of right-wing and jihadist extremism through different case studies. Its special significance is reflected in the clear determination of the phenomena of terrorism and radicalization, which is useful in understanding the context of efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism.“ Marija Đorić, Associate Professor, Faculty for Media and Communication, Singidunum University, Belgrade

“Research into radicalization has too often taken the form of an a-contextual study of ‘how individuals can go spectacularly wrong.’ By contrast, this fine collection of essays takes the influence of local culture and context in an online age seriously. By focusing on the – strikingly neglected – experience of contemporary Serbia, they illuminate the sheer complexity of extremist dynamics that are still relentlessly played out in the long shadows of the 1990s; and are still fuelled by the endless renewal energy of nationalist self-pity. An important book; and a highly overdue one.” Dr. Tim Wilson, Director, Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, St. Andrews    

The editor:

Valery Perry has worked in southeast Europe since the late 1990s, conducting research and working for a variety of organizations, policy groups, and nongovernmental organizations. Her focus is on post-war politics and security, accountability-based good governance strategies, and conflict management and resolution.