Institute for Democracy “Societas Civilis” as part of a consortium of organizations led by University College London has been awarded a grant from the prestigious program of the European Union for research and innovation, Horizon 2020 entitled “INFORM: Closing the gap between formal and informal institutions in the Balkans “.
The scientific project in which IDSCS will participate will last three years and in the consortium of organizations that will conduct the project are also inculded the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore from Croatia, Center for Interdisciplinary Applied Social Research from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Center for empirical studies of culture in Southeast Europe from Serbia, Social research Kosova from Kosovo, Centre for historical and anthropological research in Albania and Stradinsh Riga University of Latvia.
The research will follow informal relations at:
1. The external origin of major transformations including the transition to and from socialism,
2. The incomplete nature of the changes, that tend to be replaced by equally radical but diametrically opposed projects
3. The development of a culture based on informal relationships that directs people to survive in unstable conditions,
4. The growing gap between formal institutions and informal social practice.
Southeast Europe has witnessed a century of constant and continuous transformation and transition. These changes are accompanied by a stabilization of social relations and practices that are resistant to change. Distressed by the radical change of ideological and institutional structures, citizens increasingly rely on customary and informal social, kinship, friendly or clan networks to achieve economic needs and protection, than on the rule of law.
The distance between the proclaimed objectives and the actual practices is a key challenge for European integration of the Balkan societies. The integration process can be completed with artificial changes whose background will continue to develop everyday social life characterized by corruption, political clientelism, tensions and social inequalities. For this reason, it is important to explain the key formal and informal “rules of the game” and to identify and decipher the “unwritten rules” that enable tactical maneuvering between formal and informal institutions in various fields and at different levels of social life. After that these rules and relationships will be compared with the requirements and recommendations of the key EU documents in which are framed the expectations from Southeastern Europe countries.
The end goal of the project is to contribute to the formulation of policy recommendations whose aim will be to reduce the gap between formal and informal institutions in the Balkan societies.