On Friday 30 September the BRIGHT Night, the European Researchers’ Night project,will take place once again in Pisa with a number of organized events in the five Squares of Research, each dealing with a specific topic. Adults and children will have the opportunity to attend scientific experiments and demonstrations, participate in interactive workshops and attend talks on topics related to current events. Among the researchers from the University of Pisa animating the Squares, at 5.30 pm a special guest from the University of Belgrade, Nemanja Džuverović, will give a talk titled “The social impact of locally produced knowledge: The case of Balkan Peace Index” in Piazza dei Cavalieri, the square dedicated to the theme Public art, cultural memory and social change.
The University of Belgrade is one of the nine universities of the Circle U. network, the European University Alliance including the University of Pisa. The nine prestigious European universities share the mission of strengthening the links between teaching, research, innovation and society to face the great global current and future challenges, focusing on issues such as democracy, climate change and global health.
The social impact of locally produced knowledge: The case of Balkan Peace Index
We are living in a world where everything and everyone is constantly assessed and reassessed. This never ending competition is primarily done by creating various indexes that impose hierarchies, including also among states and societies. There are many problems with comparing countries in this way but the biggest one is that it is done by people (so called experts) who have never actually visited the countries they are ranking or have any in-depth knowledge about a particular country and its history. Starting from this, the Balkan Peace Index tries to produce a locally owned index about the region that is, in the European context, described exclusively in negative terms. By doing this, researchers from the Balkans aim to show how local knowledge can be used by EU decision makers in forming policies aimed towards this region, and to prove to the European public that the Balkans is more than a “powder keg”, as it is most often described. In the moment when the Cold War mentality is re-emerging in Europe, and countries are divided on “our” and “their” friends, this kind of nuanced understanding of different European regions seems even more important.
Nemanja Džuverović is a professor in Peace Studies at the University of Belgrade. His research areas include critical peacebuilding, political economy of liberal peacebuilding, international statebuilding in the Balkans, and sociology of International Relations. In 2020 he was Visiting Fulbright Scholar at Northwestern University. He has been visiting researcher at the University of Manchester, the University of Uppsala, the University of Bradford and the University of Granada. Nemanja has also been a visiting professor at several universities, including University of Bologna, University of Granada, Masaryk University, University of Zagreb, and University of Warsaw. He is co-editor of the Journal of Regional Security and program director of MA Peace, Security and Development. He is also Academic Chair (Knowledge Hub on Democracy) in the Circle U.