Guilt, Responsibility and Denial: The Past at Stake in Post-Milošević Serbia. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013.
It has taken a long time, but the book is finally out! This means that if you order a copy you will actually receive a book as opposed to receiving a promise of a book in the future.
A funny thing: although most people will probably agree that predicting the future is not really a goal of social science, I did make one prediction in the book (a really easy one!) that turned out to be true:
…a situation that is ongoing can change unexpectedly. Some events that took place while the research was ongoing compelled me to revise the entire manuscript and research plan. They changed again between the time the manuscript was submitted and production of the book began, and will have changed again by the time the book reaches the reader’s hands.
To put that into context — the completed manuscript was sent to the publisher in July 2011. I made some revisions after that, mostly shortening the text and responding to suggestions from the reviewers, but made the decision not to revise continually to make the final product up to the minute, mostly because that would have been an impossible task. But I do remember watching, together with my students in beautiful Forlí, the live broadcast of the trial chamber’s judgment in the “Operation Storm” case in April 2011, and putting the details into the footnotes of Chapters 6 and 7 just as the judge was reading them out. That day I revised intensively to account for the new facts, continuing after the security person came by to tell me I had to leave my office because they were closing the building for the night. I could not have guessed at the time that the conviction in that case, like in the Momčilo Perišić case, would be reversed on appeal. And I certainly would not have guessed that the reversal would lead to a mini-rebellion in the judicial chambers or that one odd letter would inspire a fascinating crop of conspiracy theorists.
Hey, I’m just a simple country sociologist, not a Balkan prophet.
Still, here’s the basic argument of the book: the prospect of a large-scale confrontation with the violent legacy of the 1990s was always a difficult one, and what would have made it possible were sustained processes in which the public was well informed, engaged, and encouraged to participate. There were a whole lot of reasons why that did not happen, from structural to political ones, but many fascinating and partial things happened instead. I don’t think that any of the surprising things that happened at ICTY during the last year did much to undermine the applicability of that argument. If I were ambitious I might even argue that they strengthened it.
With any luck this year will mark a moment when people doing social research will have a lot to say about public memory in the region. I discussed some recent research in another post. But 2013 really has a bumper crop. There’s this one from Hariz Halilović, this one from Jelena Obradović. In December there will be a new one from Elissa Helms. The discussion that was confined to lawyers and IR folks could be opening up, and that can only be a good thing.
Here comes the hardsell promotional bit:
A little bit of material, the table of contents and the preface, is available for preview here.
There is a page on Facebook which you are welcome to join for reviews, news, announcement of talks and other events.
The edition that is out is a hardcover edition — depending on how much interest it generates a paperback should be available before too long at a much lower price. So what to do about prices? One option is to order the book directly from the publisher. If you enter the promotional code P5P9 you will get a 20% discount. People in the UK might get an even better deal from The Book Depository which is offering it at a 24% discount. These are the best price deals I know about for now.
Ways to save even more money? If you ask your library to order it then they will spend money instead of you, and more people will get the chance to read it. If you are an instructor wanting to use it for a course or a reviewer who wants to say (maybe) nice things about it, you can request copies from the publisher (they ask you to pay a small amount for shipping).