Dragana Kovacevic Bielicki is a social researcher focusing on forced migration, nationalism, belonging, and discourse studies. She received a PhD in Migration, Nationalism and Culture Studies in 2016 from the Faculty of Humanities, University of Oslo. A monograph based on her doctoral research was published in 2017 with the title Born in Yugoslavia- Raised in Norway: Former Child Refugees and Belonging (Oslo, Novus Press, 2017). In addition, she holds degrees from Central European University (MA, Nationalism Studies) and the University of Belgrade (BA, Philosophy). She is a returning lecturer for the Peace Scholars program at the International Summer School, University of Oslo. In 2019 she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Advanced Studies, University of Rijeka.
Topic: The connections between far-right extremism and religion in the Western Balkans
Western Balkans has been one of the most unstable regions of Europe during its most recent history. Exclusionary ethno-nationalism remains a dominant group ideology with dangerous potential for the future, its power not diminished but reaffirmed by recent locally and globally relevant phenomena that continue to affect the region.
The main interest of this project lies in the most extreme manifestations of ethno-nationalist ideologies in the area in the recent period, early 21st century up until present. The ideologies and groups in focus of this project will be both on those denoted as Christian far right, and on those who get described radical Islamist extremists. The project will take up as subject these ideologies´ and groups´ close connection to religiously defined actors, groups and teachings, both in terms of the ideological connections and in terms of the direct and concrete connections between religious groups and organizations and the extremist circles.
This project will be comparative interdisciplinary qualitative research based on empirical data to be collected in three largest of the Western Balkans countries: Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aside from the task of mapping extremist groups and ideologies as well as connections between extremism and religion, this project´s other specific contribution will be in the fact that it looks at far right ideologies and radical Islamism in the region side by side and explores their commonalities. These commonalities are often less researched than their apparent differences. The two are for good reason assumed as directly opposed ideologies and “enemies”; however, their common “enemies” and similar tendencies are an under-communicated yet important aspect to be taken into consideration.