What happens to student activism once mass protests have disappeared from view, and youth embody the political frustrations, rather than the hopes of a nation? After the Revolution chronicles the lives of student activists as they confront the possibilities and disappointments of democracy in the shadow of the recent political transformation in Serbia.
When student activists in Serbia helped topple dictator Slobodan Milošević on October 5, 2000, they unexpectedly found that the postrevolutionary period brought even greater problems. How do you actually live and practice democracy in the wake of war and the shadow of a recent revolution? How do young Serbians attempt to translate the energy and excitement generated by wide-scale mobilization into the slow work of building democratic institutions? Greenberg navigates through the ranks of student organizations as they transition their activism from the streets back into the halls of the university. In exploring the everyday practices of student activists—their triumphs and frustrations—After the Revolution argues that disappointment is not a failure of democracy but a fundamental feature of how people live and practice it. This fascinating book develops a critical vocabulary for the social life of disappointment with the aim of helping citizens, scholars, and policymakers worldwide escape the trap of framing new democracies as doomed to failure.
Jessica Greenberg is an assistant professor of Anthropology at UIUC. Her research focuses on the anthropology of democracy in the Balkans and Europe more broadly, post-revolutionary politics, youth, and postsocialist studies. Her research on student activists in Serbia has led her to track and analyze the conditions of possibility for transformative politics in the post-Cold War period, and the ways in which contemporary democracies are shaped by the imaginaries and expectations of earlier political forms and practices. Her book entitled After the Revolution: Youth, Democracy and the Politics of Disappointment in Serbia was published by Stanford University Press in 2014. Her work has appeared in American Anthropologist, Political and Legal Anthropology Review (PoLAR), Eastern European Politics and Societies, Slavic Review, Language and Communication, and Nationalities papers. Prior to coming to UIUC, Greenberg was an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, and an assistant professor in Communication Studies at Northwestern University. She received her PhD in anthropology from the University of Chicago in 2007.
More information about Dr. Greenberg's new book, After the Revolution: Youth, Democracy, and the Politics of Dissapointment, is available on the Stanford University Press's website.