As the destructive power of nationalism has subsided over the last decade, the status and application of LGBT rights has remained one of the most polarising political issues in the post-Yugoslav space. Drawing upon the conceptual apparatus of social movement studies and Europeanisation and gender theory, this project consists of three major, closely inter-related research foci: 1. if offers a historical account of the emergence, development and operation of LGBT activist groups in the Yugoslav and post-Yugoslav space; 2. it comparatively examines the potentials and limitations of the European Union and European integration processes to promote LGBT rights and protect sexual minorities both before and after accession to the European Union; and 3. it explores the attitudes of LGBT people themselves towards the current forms of LGBT organising in the region and their possible alternatives. Explicitly challenging the systematic absence of discussions of (post-)Yugoslav LGBT and other activist initiatives in recent sociological scholarship, this project employs a variety of empirical sources (in-depth interviews, online surveys, internet fora, documentary material, participant observation, etc) to put gender and sexuality-related issues higher on the regional sociological research agenda and start redressing the imbalance between Western and Eastern European research on LGBT activism and politics. This project also constitutes one of the very first systematic studies to throw light on the ways in which LGBT organisations, positioned in different national contexts in relation to their inclusion in the European Union (member states, candidates, prospective candidates), have been drawing upon the processes of European integration to secure equality and reduce homophobia in one of the most turbulent European regions.
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