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Us vs. Them: Populism, the Refugee Other and the Re-Consideration of National Identity in Central and Eastern Europe

The CEU Campus
Monday, May 29, 2017, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm

The CEU Center for European Neighborhood Studies (CENS)

and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) in Budapest

cordially invite you to the conference

“Us vs. Them: Populism, the Refugee Other and the Re-Consideration of National Identity in Central and Eastern Europe”

Conference overview:

Incoming refugees have created strong negative reactions across Europe, in both destination and transit countries. Such reactions were instrumentalized by some political actors in order to instill fear, and a rhetoric of “us” versus “them” is increasingly popular. One consequence of such political processes was the emphasis placed on the political community, and its re-conceptualization along mostly ethnic and/or religious lines. In this conference, we aim to find out how communities are being re-imagined in countries receiving refugees or being on the transit path. This conference takes on this difficult issue through a selection of research papers that offer a critical insight into identity politics along the Balkan route, and in the V4 region.


9:00 Registration

9:30 Opening remarks

  • Péter Balázs, Director, CEU Center for EU Enlargement Studies
  • Timo Rinke, Project Manager, "Flight, Migration, Integration in Europe" project, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung

9:40 Panel I: Identity Politics along the “Balkan Route”

  • Populist, Radical and Extreme Right Parties in Visegrad countries: In the name of the people and the nation in Central Europe

Vera Stojarova, Masaryk University

  • Defending European Values during the Refugee Crisis: Reconceptualization of a National Identity or the New and Improved Nationalism in a Transit Country?  

Tamara Petrovic Trifunović & Dunja Poleti Ćosić, University of Belgrade

  • Constructing national and supranational identities in times of crisis: A comparison between the Greek “bailout” referendum and the Hungarian “migrant quota” referendum –

Anna Kyriazi, European University Institute

  • Negotiating East/West & North/South: Borders and boundaries in Austrian asylum politics 2015-16

Anna Wodička, Central European University

Chair: Andras Szalai, Center for European Neighborhood Studies, CEU

11:10 Coffee break

11:30 Panel II: From State Discourse to Local Communities: Refugees and the Everyday

  • Refugees like us: Solidarity in transition along the Western Balkans route

Chiara Milan, Scuola Normale Superiore

  • Understanding the host populations at Europe’s “new” frontiers: the case of the Greek island of Lesbos in the framework of the European refugee crisis

Effrosyni Charitopoulou, Oxford University

  • Political Discourse on Refugees Compared to Refugees’ Individual Stories: Case of Croatia

Rahela Jurkovic, University of Zagreb

  • Media representations of migration in illiberal times: The case of Hungary and Austria

Jenna Althoff, Central European University

Chair: Linda Szabo, Sociology and Social Anthropology, CEU

13:00 Closing remarks


RSVP to Gabi Gőbl at