Norwegian version of this page

Strategies of symbolic nation-building in West Balkan states (completed)

Men and women with weapons in hand. Drawing.

The National Museum, Tirana

About the project

The creation of national identities in the Western Balkan states is still a “work in progress”.  How, and to what extent, do the citizens of these states respond to their political leaderships’ attempts to create, co-opt or stimulate symbolic interpretations of the past?


The objective of this project is to determine the strategies, strength and effectiveness of symbolic nation-building in the Western Balkans.

Firstly, the variations of nation-building activities were mapped in Albania and the new states in the former Yugoslavia, using existing sources of information and data.

Secondly, the impact of the various nation-building strategies was measured and compared using new survey data.


The project was financed by the Norwegian Research Council.


The project was a joint undertaking by the Department of Literature, Area Studies and European Languages of the University of Oslo and the Department of Culture Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Rijeka.

The Political Science Research Centre in Zagreb assisted with work on the surveys. The market research firm IPSOS is contracted to carry out the surveys.

An additional eight scholars from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia and Kosovo participated in the project. 


Kolstø, Pål (ed). Strategies of Symbolic Nation-building in South Eastern Europe. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., Mar 28, 2014.

Kolstø, Pål. «Balkan», «Europa» og EU: Sørøst-Europas symbolske geografi i endring, Nytt norsk tidskrift, 2014:1

Published Oct. 27, 2020 12:22 PM - Last modified May 27, 2022 2:43 PM