2012 Fisher Forum

Political Spaces in Eurasia: Global Contexts, Local Outcomes

Writing in the aftermath of World War I, Winston Churchill declared that the Balkans had produced more history than they could consume. Today this observation still holds true, and may be extended to most of the post-communist countries of Eurasia, a region of which the Balkans have for so long been the geopolitical fulcrum. Our conference conceptualizes the continuities, fault lines, and interruptions in the region’s political, social, and cultural spaces. It will examine the state of the region from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including those of the social sciences, law, and the humanities, but always taking into account the behaviors and discursive practices of governments, parties, oppositions, and their leaders.

In particular, conference participants will look at the nation-specific electoral and cultural content of the spaces that are its subject while situating them in relation to key international developments such as globalization, the world financial crisis, and the rise of the Internet. In Eurasia, as elsewhere, politicians and their parties are in the business of selling hope to people, i.e., filling public and private spaces with promises that are a structured or ad hoc response to popular expectations. Aspirant or actual political actors aim to convince their constituents that they can provide national security, social stability, and economic growth, as well as protect and promote cultural/ethnic identity. To that end, they employ a variety of electoral and PR methodologies, many of them pioneered in the highly developed political marketplaces of Western Europe and North America, but adapted (sometimes mis-adapted) for local needs. The conference will address important public events, such as the growing protest movement in Russia and the March 2012 presidential election in that country. The self-presentation of political figures will be a topic of special interest, as will be the use and abuse of online media in the countries in question.


Levis Faculty Center

919 West Illinois Street, Urbana, IL 61801

Thursday, June 14

9.00-10.30 am     Panel #1. Chair: Andrzej Falkowski – Stronger Than We Hope, Weaker Than We Fear: Russia and Its Peripheries since March 2012

Richard Tempest (University of Illinois): “Putin’s Body Politic”

Greg Simons (Uppsala University, Sweden): “Stability and Change in Putin’s Political Image During the 2000 and 2012 Presidential Elections: Putin 1.0 and Putin 2.0?”

Sergey Markedonov (Center for Strategic and International Studies): “Democratization Processes in Eurasia’s De Facto States: Problems and Peculiarities”

10.30-10.45 am     Break

10.45 am-12.15 pm     Panel # 2. Chair: Joseph Ben-Ur  – Electoral Mechanics…

Cristian Andrei (Romanian Political Marketing Association): “Romania’s Total War, or How Political Marketing Strategies Work in a Democratic Process”

Lilia Raycheva (Sofia University, Bulgaria): “The Impact of Television in Bulgaria on the Electoral Process and Voting Behavior”

Ülle Toode (International University Audentes, Estonia): “The Use of Web 2.0 Applications by Estonian Political Candidates”

12.30-2.00 pm     Lunch (on own)

2.00-3.30 pm      Panel # 3. Chair: Cristian Andrei   …and Electoral Dynamics

Tiffany Winchester et al. (Deakin University, Australia), “Conceptualizing Usage In Voting Behavior for Political Marketing: An Application of Consumer Behavior”

Jólan Róka (Budapest College of Communication, Business & Arts), “Party Campaign Strategies in European and National Elections in Hungary”

Ieva Dmitricenko (University of Applied Sciences, Latvia), “Political Campaign Environments in Latvia”

3.30-3.45 pm     Break

4.00 pm     Keynote Address

Bruce Newman (DePaul University): “A Paradigm Shift in Global Politics: The Role of Political Marketing”

5.30 pm       Reception

Friday, June 15

8.30-10.00 am     Panel #4. Chair: Jólan Róka – Political Prospects and Perspectives in Eurasia

Wojciech Cwalina & Andrzej Falkowski (Warsaw School of Social Sciences & Humanities, Poland): “The Macro and Micro View of Political Marketing: The Evolving Democracies Perspective”

Volodymyr Chumachenko (University of Illinois): “Ukraine under Yanukovich: Implications for the Region”

Oana Dan (Harvard University): “Creating an EU-ropean Public: The Meaning of EU Citizenship in the ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Europe”

10.00-10.15 am     Break

10.15-11.45 am     Panel #5. Chair: Richard Tempest – Continental Drift or Continental Convergence?

Francis Boyle (University of Illinois): “The Future of Bosnia and Herzegovina”

Wojciech Cwalina & Andrezj Fakowski: “A Political Message Ambiguity Management: An Implication for Candidate Positioning”

Joseph Ben-Ur (University of Houston-Victoria): “Social Political Networks: A Cross-Continental Comparison”


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Hewlett International Conference Grant

Center for Advanced Study

European Union Center

School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Department of Communication

Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures

Center for Global Studies

Department of Sociology

Department of History

Department of Political Science

This conference is funded in part by the Department of Education Title VI grant for international area centers.

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