Strategic publicity: On international intervention and the performativity of public communication in postconflict Macedonia

Andrew Graan


This article analyzes how diplomats from the United States, European Union, and allied organizations marshaled public communication as a political tool in the Republic of Macedonia following the country’s 2001 armed conflict. During this period, American and European officials used press conferences, media interviews, public addresses, press releases, and official reports to evaluate and comment on political decisions facing the country. Through an ethnographic elaboration of foreign representatives’ participation in the Macedonian public sphere on politics, the article develops how foreign officials’ commentary was performative in that its pragmatic effect—of expressing approval or disapproval—produced new and consequential contexts that would affect how others (e.g., Macedonian politicians) participated in the public. In tracing the powerful but fragile ways in which such public interdiscursivity functioned to modulate political decision-making in Macedonia, the article links scholarship on governmentality with that on the public sphere to advance a deeper reading of communicative dimensions of governmentality as well as the governmental politics of publicity.


Publics, the public sphere, international intervention, transnational governance, governmentality, Macedonia

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14318/hau6.3.019