About

Bojan Savić joined the Brussels School of International Studies in 2015 as Lecturer in International Relations from Elon University, North Carolina. Bojan received his PhD from the University of Kent at Brussels in 2012 and MA degrees in European Studies (University of Maastricht, 2007) and International Relations (European Institute, Nice, 2008) before joining Virginia Tech's National Capital Region campus in Alexandria, VA as a postdoctoral researcher. His MA and PhD research focused on the formal modeling of intra-alliance relations, culminating with a doctoral dissertation on post-Cold War transformations of NATO's civilian and military structures. His current research combines insights from Critical Geopolitics, Postcolonial Studies, Critical Security Studies, and International Development.    

Research interests

Dr. Savić’s new monograph on the legacies of ‘global governance’ in Afghanistan investigates how postcolonial subjects are produced and managed through population containment, financial and economic incentives, and racialized security. By focusing on micro-spatial politics in Herat City, the capital of Afghanistan’s westernmost Herat Province, the book also sheds light on how tactics of nonviolent resistance evade and exploit governance apparatuses. His current research explores the urban politics of faith, denominational belonging, and prosperity in Białystok, the largest city along Poland’s eastern frontier. This project explores how faith practices and space (architectural, urban, bodily, etc.) shape one another as political, i.e. implicated in power relations. In doing so, Dr. Savić embeds Białystok in postcolonial politics that have come to circumscribe "Central and Eastern Europe" vis-à-vis "Western Europe", Russia, and the liberal discourses of minority rights and freedoms. Dr. Savić is interested in critical junctures of formal modeling (game theory) and qualitative and quantitative research strategies; particularly regarding their applicability to fieldwork.    

Publications

Article

  • Savic, B. (2014). Where is Serbia? Traditions of Spatial Identity and State Positioning in Serbian Geopolitical Culture. Geopolitics [Online] 19:684-718. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/14650045.2014.915808.
    This article studies the geopolitical traditions of spatial imagining of Serbia amongst the country’s political elites since the break-up of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. It examines some of the socially dominant discourses of spatial positioning of Serbia as a historical-political narrative. The study argues that one can identify five distinct geopolitical traditions that, in variably overlapping or mutually contradicting ways, address two questions: ‘Where is Serbia’ and ‘How is its perceived smallness felt and described’? A first tradition is that which attributes sacred, divine and martyr-like features to the country, its small earthly “Serbian lands” and people. A second tradition conveys spatially maximised and biopolitical visions of “Serbdom”, amounting to variable designs of a “Greater Serbia” anxious about its felt frontiers and smallness. The final three traditions are the mutually exclusive positioning of Serbia around an East-West axis as either Eastern or Western, or a geographically unique and exceptional bridge between the two, whereby each positioning recasts smallness as a crucial feature of geopolitical exceptionality. The article concludes with some general observations on the challenges of studying geopolitical cultures.
  • Savi?, B. (2013). Relinquishing and Governing the Volatile: The Many Afghanistans and Critical Research Agendas of NATO’s Governance. Global Discourse: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Current Affairs and Applied Contemporary Thought [Online] 3:136-143. Available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23269995.2013.805579#.VdRxHs5tTAQ.
    This article invites academics and policy analysts to examine the mechanisms and legacy of NATO's security and development governance of Afghan social spaces by using critical theory concepts. It argues that such scholarly endeavors are growing in importance as the United States and NATO gradually pull their troops out of Afghanistan. Thus, the article suggests a broad twofold research agenda. First, it points out that researching social spaces such as towns, villages, marketplaces, and neighborhoods beyond the realm of intergovernmental politics can lead to thick descriptions of how such places have been governed from within by agents external to them. Second, the study argues for a multifaceted examination of instruments, strategies, and institutions of security governance, its conduct and social effects by deploying critical and Foucauldian concepts such as the rationality and apparatuses of power relations. Thereby, it proposes an inquiry into Provincial Reconstruction Teams and Afghan National Security Forces as spatially and temporally specific apparatuses of surveillance and security.
  • Savi?, B. (2010). How to Persuade Government Officials to Grant Interviews and Share Information for Your Research. PS: Political Science & Politics [Online] 43:721-723. Available at: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=7910816&fileId=S104909651000137X.
    Rick Farmer's article focuses on ways in which academic political scientists can influence policymakers. At the Toronto meeting of the Working Group on Practicing Politics, government political scientists also recognized that academics often are frustrated by the process of getting information from the government and cooperation from officials.

Book

  • Savic, B. (2020). Afghanistan Under Siege: The Afghan Body and the Postcolonial Border. [Online]. I.B. Tauris. Available at: https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/afghanistan-under-siege-9781788315265/.
    In this book, based on field work undertaken in Afghanistan itself and through engagement with postcolonial theory, Bojan Savic critiques western intervention in Afghanistan by showing how its casting of Afghan natives as “dangerous” has created a power network which fractures the country – in echoes of 19th and 20th century colonial powers in the region. Savic also offers an analysis of how and by what means global security priorities have affected Afghan lives.

Review

  • Savic, B. (2014). Getting over Europe: The Construction of Europe in Serbian culture (Book Review). Nationalities Papers [Online] 42:1088-1090. Available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00905992.2014.929241#.VdR8EM5tTAQ.
    Zoran Milutinovi? sets out to inquire the ways in which “Europe” (or the many social imaginations of that name) was constructed “in Serbian culture, in the selected writings of leading writers and intellectuals between two world wars” (p. 9). Partly anchored in imagology, the study follows manners and practices of expression and transmission of social perceptions and images in literary discourses. Through cross- cultural contrasting, interpretations and analyses of primary texts, the book offers a thick and captivating snapshot of entangled intimate, personal and collective discourses of Europe. It examines wider transnational and more “local” Balkan and Serbian imaginations of Europe and of its purported zeitgeist throughout the historical crises and transformations following the “Great War” (1914-1918). The book’s nine analytical chapters delve into the discourses of key (predominantly) Serbian writers and public intellectuals between the two world wars – from Isidora Sekulic? and Jovan Skerlic? to Milos? Crnjanski, Ivo Andric? and others. In engaging with the discursive dynamics of identity construction between their personalities, their national-ethnic collectivities, multi-layered social roles and their intimate “Europes”, Milutinovic? distills themes that according to him underwrite and partly tie together the “European” and “Western” narratives of the different authors. His analysis unfolds as highly accessible to wider audiences beyond the confines of academia. It reads as an intimate dissection of original texts in ways that invariably raise questions about the cognitive and emotive structures shaping collective and individual imaginations of Europe in Serbia. This review will inspect in more depth three particular aspects of Milutinovic?’s narrative: the manner of his interpretation and analysis of primary discourses, the unique and hybrid genre of the text, as well as its sociological focus.

Thesis

  • Clini, C. (2017). Between a Rock of Global Security and a Hard Place of Domestic Growth: China’s Role in Climate Action As an Unsuspected Norm Maker.
    Climate change has been a contentious issue in international politics, and academic and scientific communities. Its progressive move into the sphere of "high politics" has paralleled a structural shift in the global centres of power, especially towards the emerging economies of China, India, Brazil, and South Africa. Among them, Beijing is playing an increasingly pivotal economic, political, diplomatic, and military role.
    In this context, as climate change has emerged as a major policy issue in national and international security affairs, an increasing number of countries have started to urge China to take on binding emission reduction commitments commensurate with its level of economic development. They have used international climate change negotiations (ICCN) to pressure Beijing and criticize its climate change policy as inadequate. While criticism has not died down entirely, critics have to contend now with China's apparently evolving behaviour.
    Beijing's response to this international pressure has been twofold. On the one hand, it has anchored its negotiating position in ICCN to the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" (CBDR), thereby claiming its developing country identity and rights. On the other hand, China has progressively switched, at both domestic and international levels, from a predominantly reactive role of a recipient of criticism and policy demands to one of proactive engagement in environmental protection, climate change policies, and ICCN. Thereby, it has become an unavoidable player in global environmental governance.
    This research investigates the driving forces behind China's increasing engagement in global environmental policy and, ultimately, Beijing's shift to a leading role in global environmental governance. It addresses the ostensibly puzzling change in China's behaviour from "norm taking" to "norm making". My argument is that China's unfolding engagement arises from a changing self-perception and identity shift from a recipient of international norms and expectations to a global norm entrepreneur and leader of the "global South" who also sees economic, technological, political, and diplomatic benefits in environmental and climate change reforms. Ultimately, I argue that Beijing's strategic pursuit of material gains and new reputation has been enabled and reinforced by its identity transformation.
    To address the research question and substantiate the core argument, a threefold document, literature, and discourse-analysis approach has been employed. It has been used to investigate the evolution of China's environmental policy at domestic and international levels. To examine and substantiate the hypothesized norm-making evolution, this study has tied its dynamics to underlying shifts in China's collective social identities along a number of key and interconnected dimensions. Moreover, this course of analysis has been enabled by a critical use of International Relations (IR) theories. In analysing which IR theory could best explain China's evolving behaviour in global environmental governance, this research argues that limitations of realist and liberal theories call for a more sociological and identity-based contribution. Therefore, by drawing on a set of social constructivist ideas, this study shows how China has used diplomacy, clean energy research, development aid, and South-South Cooperation and its own understanding of soft power to secure broad political support within the global South for its climate change and development policy in relevant international forums. Thereby, China has progressively strengthened its normative power and, accordingly, framed the global debate on climate change as a subject of North-South politics.
    By utilizing a social constructivist lens, this research makes a combined theoretical and empirical contribution to interpretive, constructivist, and sociological-organizational accounts of great power behaviour, power transition, and institutional participation - areas of study traditionally dominated by the 'neo-neo debate' in International Relations.
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