The Eastward Expansion of the European Union: Perspectives from University Students in Belgrade, Serbia
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This thesis explores how the eastward expansion of the European Union (EU) affects the lives and identities of university students in Belgrade, Serbia, a post-socialist, post-conflict, and non-EU country. This study involved qualitative interviews of 17 students aged 20 to 30, a generation that grew up during the 1990s when the Yugoslav secession wars made Serbia isolated from Western Europe politically and economically. A central question of this project is what it means to live in a non-EU state in Europe as the EU expands to include more post-socialist and Eastern European states. This study finds that participants tend to identify as belonging in Europe despite Serbia’s geopolitical position on the outside of the EU, and explores how the issues of emplacement and exclusion affect participants’ perceptions of everyday life in Belgrade as they compare it to how they imagine life to be like in the EU.