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The Left in Southeast Europe: Identities and Discourses

Publié le 7 décembre 2023 Mis à jour le 8 décembre 2023

Call for Papers

4th and 5th April 2024, University of Tirana 

Deadline: 15/01/2024


Right after the democratic transition, scholars have pointed at the great diversity of communist successor parties’ identities and discourses. Some of them, in fact, were able to successfully turn into social democratic parties, rejecting the wrongdoings of the previous regime. Others transmuted towards nationalism, revisiting recent history through a patriotic lens. Finally, some groupings resisted the change and kept their Communist banner, assessing the capitalist and democratic transition negatively. 

The memory of the past was indeed not the only sphere of divergence between the fellow parties since they came to vary in economic and socio-cultural issues too. The present call wants to explore communist successor parties’ identities and discourses thirty years after the transition. It both welcomes papers enquiring on the causal roots of communist successors’ identity and on left-wing discursive practices. 

Regarding the first issue, academic literature has initially focused on a path-dependent explanation to such divergence, pointing at previous regime types as the main determinants of ex-communists’ identities and discourses. Years after the transition, rational choice explanations have brought up internalist determinants of communist successors’ identity formation and change, underlying intra-party dynamics as a crucial variable. Recent efforts to assess the phenomenon have instead tried to make a synthesis between the two approaches. 

As to the discursive practices, the discussion will touch on the contribution of the post-Communist Left to the construction of the public sphere in the respective countries. This refers specifically to the political and media party discourse; their electoral propaganda; political programs; critical and divisive internal debates; issues and metaphors put forward; ideological foundations, pre-established myths and beliefs as means to assert themselves vis-à-vis the public opinion. 

Albeit its preponderant focus on communist successor parties, the call furthermore enquires the new efforts to establish counter-hegemonic narratives by actors – be them parties or movements – at the Left of the communist successors, thus covering the whole spectrum of self-defined left-wing forces in the region. 

Papers touching one of the following points are thus welcomed:

-       Communist successor parties’ identity formation and change;

-       Left-wing discursive practices;

-       Mobilization strategies: discourses on the ground and online;

-       Counter-hegemonic discourses on the Left;

-       Comparative studies on communist successor parties’ identity and discourse.

Please send your abstract to Jean.Michel.De.Waele@ulb.be by 15/01/2024. Feedback will be provided within 01/02/2024.

Scientific Committee:

Jean-Michel De Waele - CEVIPOL, Université Libre de Bruxelles

Mark Marku - Communication and Journalism Department, University of Tirana 

Artan Fuga - Communication and Journalism Department, University of Tirana 

Gianmarco Bucci - Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa (SNS)