“Party Transformation in the Western Balkans: From Fragmentation to Europeanization”

Monday, May 5, 2008
1219 International Affairs Building

Lenard J. Cohen, Professor
School for International Studies, Simon Fraser University

The progress of democratization in Southeastern Europe is closely linked to the development of modern, stable, and predominantly interest-based party systems. Drawing upon research for a forthcoming comparative study of state-building and democracy-building (Embracing Democracy: Political Struggles in the Western Balkans from Dayton to the European Union, co-authored with John Lampe), Cohen will examine trends in regional political party development over the last decade including: the changing programmatic and ideological focus of parties; the role of parties in facilitating citizen-state linkages and forging new political cultures; internal party democracy and the evolution of party leadership and party membership; the capacity of parties to transcend societal divisions and extremism, party activity in relation to state bureaucracies; and also the ability of parties to resist and control corruption.

Lenard J. Cohen is a professor in the School for International Studies at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. He received his PhD in political science from Columbia University, and his research has focused on political development in Southeastern Europe. His books include: Broken Bonds: Yugoslavia’s Disintegration and Balkan Politics in Transition (1993, 1995); Serpent in the Bosom: The Rise and Fall of Slobodan Milosevic (2001, 2002); and State Collapse in Southeastern Europe: New Perspectives on Yugoslavia’s Disintegration (co-edited with Jasna Dragovic-Soso, 2007).