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Representing the Western Balkans, Post-war Understandings : A discourse analysis of contemporary representations of Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia in UK press media


  • James Boyd

Summary, in English

During the war in Bosnia in the 1990s, and the Wars of Yugoslav Succession more widely, ‘balkanist’ views, which hold the people of the Balkans as backwards and violent, were widespread in debates in the UK.

Using theories of ‘balkanism’ as developed by scholars such as Maria Todorova, Andrew Hammond, and Lene Hansen this thesis explores how the countries heavily involved in the Bosnian War–Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia–are represented in the UK press media in a postwar context between 2011 and 2018, and how these representations are used in arguments about the position of these countries in relation to Europe and the EU. The study uses methods of discourse analysis to asses 12 articles chosen from the opinion and editorial pages of major UK broadsheet newspapers.

It finds that many of the ‘balkanist’ representations that appeared in the 1990s are now actively resisted in the material studied. However, the ideas of failed reconciliation and rising nationalism in the countries under study introduce new openings for ‘balkanist’ ideas to emerge in debates. Furthermore, this thesis finds that ‘balkanist’ discourses can be used when
promoting the institutions of the West, such as the EU, and can problematically assume the superiority of Europe.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Master's degree (two years)


  • Social Sciences
  • History and Archaeology


  • Representation
  • Balkans
  • Western Balkans
  • balkanism
  • media analysis
  • European Studies


  • Sanimir Resic (Associate Professor)