About Us

Ivana Stepanovic

Ivana Stepanovic (Serbia 2021) is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Criminological and Sociological Research since 2014. She holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Belgrade, MA in Human Rights and Democracy in South-East Europe from the University of Sarajevo and University of Bologna and BA in Philosophy from the University of Belgrade. Her previous research has focused on the issue of privacy in the context of digital technologies. Currently, she is mainly interested in issues concerning privacy and security on the internet, the role of new media in political, cultural and economic changes, particularly in South-East Europe, the role of algorithms in policing the internet and the impact of digital surveillance on everyday life. She is also interested in topics concerning privacy and security in prisons and the role of digital technologies in the transformation of labour.

Topic: YouTube as a New Site for Political Debates: New Opportunities for Reconciliation in the Former Yugoslav Countries

Abstract: YouTube, as a social media network and a broadcasting platform, is one of the new public spaces where individuals can create their own TV channels that sometimes attract more views than traditional broadcasting companies. It is a new space for political debates that is increasingly taking over the position traditional media once had. While it also generates content dominated by hate speech and nationalist narratives, it opens up opportunities for reconciliation initiatives. These initiatives are mainly coming from YouTube ‘influencers’ – video content creators who are working together as a part of the ‘Balkan’ network. Balkan influencers tend to portray friendly relations with neighbouring countries as already normalised. They often create travel videos showing how common it is to travel to other former Yugoslav countries, but they also occasionally discuss security issues persuading viewers that it is safe for them to visit these destinations no matter where they are coming from.

You can read her Blog at iASK!