Welcome to my personal webpage

Page

I am a Post-doctoral Research Associate at the Institute of Political Science, University of Luxembourg working on a project titled “ELWar – Electoral Legacies of War: Political Competition in Postwar Southeast Europe” funded by the ERC Starting Grant and led by Josip Glaurdić. Prior to joining the university in October 2017, I was a Visiting Fulbright Scholar at the Department of Political Science, Yale University (2017), a Cvachovec Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto (2017), and a Research Fellow at the International Institute of Political Science, Masaryk University (2012-2017). My research focuses on the existing challenges to democracy in Central and Eastern Europe with a special emphasis on election-related conflicts, political violence, and modern forms of authoritarian rule. I am the author of Electoral Violence in the Western Balkans. From Voting to Fighting and Back (Routledge; 2017) and a co-author of Challenges to Democracies in East Central Europe (Routledge; 2016). My papers on electoral violence and democratization have been published in a variety of international peer-reviewed journals (e.g. Terrorism and Political Violence, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Problems of Post-Communism, Journal of International Relations and Development, Nations & Nationalism, Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, Democracy and Security, or World Political Science).


Selected papers
SCImago Journal & Country Rank

Talking War: Representation, Veterans and Ideology in Post-War Parliamentary Debates in Government and Opposition (online first; November 2020).

How do politicians in post-war societies talk about the past war? How do they discursively represent vulnerable social groups created by the conflict? Does the nature of this representation depend on the politicians’ ideology or their record of combat service? We answer these questions by pairing natural language processing tools and a large corpus of parliamentary debates with an extensive data set of biographical information including detailed records of war service for all members of parliament during two recent terms in Croatia. We demonstrate not only that veteran politicians talk about war differently from their non-veteran counterparts, but also that the sentiment of war-related political discourse is highly dependent on the speaker’s exposure to combat and ideological orientation. These results improve our understanding of the representational role played by combat veterans, as well as of the link between descriptive and substantive representation of vulnerable groups in post-war societies.

SCImago Journal & Country Rank

Mythologizing war: legacies of conflict in Croatian parliamentary debates in Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, 20 (3) (August 2020).

The paper analyses almost fifteen years of Croatian parliamentary debates and identifies a discourse of war legacies. Using the latest advancements in natural language processing, the paper utilizes models based on latent semantic analysis and discusses how politicians talk about war in terms of common narratives and shared frameworks. Using a complex vector representation of war-related concepts, the paper specifically focuses on their framing in the context of right-wing authoritarianism. The results show a negative trend of pushing the most frequent war-related concepts to more extreme framing as a potential reflection of their political abuse and ongoing mythologization.

SCImago Journal & Country Rank

Understanding Electoral Violence through Complex Textual Data: OSCE Monitoring Missions in Different Contexts in Studies in Conflict & Terrorism (online, March 2019).

The article analyzes more than twenty years of evidence on electoral violence as reported by Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitoring mission reports. It identifies prevailing trends of electoral violence in the OSCE participating states in order to better understand how the phenomenon is understood and framed by the leading international monitoring organizations in the region. The analysis utilizes a unique approach based on automated content analysis employing counting algorithms and latent semantic indexing. The results of the analysis show how electoral violence differs throughout the region while highlighting the qualitative variations in regional patterns of the reported incidents of election-related violence.

SCImago Journal & Country Rank

Looking Eastward: Network Analysis of Czech Deputies and their Foreign Policy Groups co-authored by Tomas Diviak in Problems of Post-Communism, 66 (6) (November 2019).

This article analyzes a structure of relations among the members of the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, as reported through their memberships in bilateral and multilateral groups of friendship which establish professional contacts between the Chamber of Deputies and foreign parliaments. We approach the structure as a social network of members of parliament and interpret the memberships as proxy indicators of their interests/preferences in foreign affairs. This research shows that interparliamentary groups construct a self-sustained independent structure for parliamentary diplomacy which may significantly differ from the official positions of the government. We find that the studied network has a centralized core–periphery structure, in which deputies who are less prominent and those interested in authoritarian regimes occupy more central positions. This research connects the findings with the current debates on Central European tendencies to look for allies in large authoritarian regimes (Russia and China), for which we argue the interparliamentary groups might play the role of an important communication channel.

SCImago Journal & Country RankFTPV

Fighting and Voting: Mapping Electoral Violence in the Region of Post-Communist Europe in Terrorism and Political Violence, 30 (4) (July 2018).

Electoral disputes accompanied by violent outbreaks have become an emerging problem in societies under transformation, in authoritarian regimes, as well as in young democracies. The truth is that many politicians elected to office, their supporters, and political activists have altered their perceptions of electoral competition in a form of zero-sum logic with direct consequences for their opponents. After the fall of Communism in the beginning of the 1990s, Central and Eastern Europe stood at a crossroads. This period of imbalance and uncertainty affected the violent interaction in newly reformed electoral arenas with serious consequences for legitimizing democratic change. Despite the well-documented tension that existed in the region, the importance of violence in the electoral arena is rather neglected. The article approaches this gap as the first attempt to map electoral violence in a new typological environment where the process of transformation has affected political pluralism and the patterns of political contest. It argues that electoral violence is not a rare phenomenon in the region of post-Communist Europe and the dynamic varies on a great scale. Moreover, the article presents a picture of electoral violence occurring in different settings with potentially different contextual preconditions that need to be studied separately.