From 'Strategic Accession' to 'Tactical Europeanisation'? The Promotion of and Resistance to LGBT Equality in Serbia’s European Integration Process (PhD — table of content)
Supervisors: Prof. Adam Fagan & dr Paul Copeland
In recent years, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans* (LGBT) rights have become increasingly salient within the EU enlargement process as a so-called litmus test for Europeanness, yet the promotion of such norms has provided a fulcrum for political contestation. Based on this observation, this thesis asks how do the EU and a candidate country negotiate LGBT-related normative tensions which have been created as part of the overarching political integration process? By taking into account the international symbolism of LGBT norms, it is suggested to move away from a classical approach to Europeanisation in which the impact of the EU on a third country is examined, towards a more dynamic conceptualisation of the EU enlargement process in which norms are inherently contested, and a resolution to normative struggles are required to advance political integration. Drawing on the critical scholarship on normative power Europe, this thesis rejects a uni-directional (top-down) understanding of EU enlargement in which the EU transplants its rules and norms to candidate countries, while proposing a complex multi-dimensional conceptualising in which different hegemonic struggles and normative tensions come together in a multi-layered normative struggle with its own tensions. How these tensions are negotiated is empirically studied in the context of the European integration process of Serbia (2001– 2015). Using process tracing, which draws on 89 semi-structured interviews, document analysis and participant observation, this thesis analyses the promotion of and resistance to LGBT-inclusive anti-discrimination legislation and the organisation of LGBT Pride Parades in Belgrade. Overall, the thesis introduces the concept of ‘Tactical Europeanisation’ to highlight that the EU accession process is better thought of as a process of negotiated transformation in which EU policies and norms are (re)defined, negotiated and transformed with both sides making compromised to further the political integration. It calls for a more critical analysis of the civilizational politics embedded in the EU enlargement process that goes beyond institutional changes to include an analysis of transnational configurations of politics and the complex (negotiated) outcomes they produce.
This thesis was awarded the 2018 UACES Prize for Best PhD Thesis in Contemporary European Politics
"The judges praised the great care given to pay attention to details of the argument, triangulate findings and present these in a easily accessible way that is duely attentive to the complexity of information conveyed. They considered the thesis a highly valuable and forward-looking contribution to debate in the area of Europeanisation, as well as in the case study area of Western Balkans." (UACES, 2018)
EU Enlargement and Gay Politics: The Impact of Eastern Enlargement on Rights, Activism and Prejudice (Book Project)
With Heleen Touquet and Peter Vermeersch
This book offers a well-investigated and accessible picture of the current situation around the politics of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) rights and activism in Central Europe and the Western Balkans in the context of the enlargement of the European Union (EU). It provides not only thoughtful reflections on the topic but also a wealth of new empirical findings — arising from legal and policy analysis, large-scale sociological investigations and country case studies. Theoretical concepts come from institutional analysis, the study of social movements, law, and Europeanisation literature. The authors discuss emerging Europe-wide activism for LGBT rights and analyze issues such as the tendency of nationalist movements to turn ‘sexual others’ into ‘national others,’ the actions and rhetoric of church actors as powerful counter-mobilizers against LGBT rights, and the role of the domestic state on the receiving end of EU pressure in the field of fundamental rights.