UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)

Prof Eric Gordy

Prof Eric Gordy

Professor of Political and Cultural Sociology



Joined UCL
8th Oct 2007

Research summary

Eric Gordy is a political and cultural sociologist concentrating on Southeast Europe, especially the states of the former Yugoslavia. His first book, The Culture of Power in Serbia: Nationalism and the Destruction of Alternatives, represented an effort to offer an understanding of nationalist-authoritarian government and its staying power that concentrated not on political leaders and preconceived “ethnic” categories, but on the experience of everyday life, blockage and distraction under conditions of constraint. This bottom-up approach to large-scale political events was developed further in Guilt, Responsibility and Denial: The Past at Stake in Post-Milošević Serbia, which explored ways in which dialogue about public memory and understanding of the wars of the 1990s both moved forward and met obstacles, and both efforts at opening discussions of memory and efforts at denial were transformed in response to ongoing events.

He is currently coordinator and principal investigator for the research project INFORM: Closing the Gap Between Formal and Informal Institutions in the Balkans, which has been funded with 2.3 million Euros by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 research programme. Involving a network of 40 researchers in 9 countries, the project probes the limitations of legal and structural reform, investigating ways in which people have blocked, circumvented and otherwise tried to cope with transformations directed from above in both the Communist and neoliberal periods.

In all of the research projects active in the Southeast European region, there is a strong emphasis on collaboration with scholars in the regions being studied, on the use and refinement of methodologies that move beyond the top level of political structures and the “obvious,” and on bringing to area studies an enhanced recognition of theoretical complexity.

Eric makes an effort to bring the findings of research close to the public, appearing regularly and writing regularly for media. His comments on the region have appeared in international outlets including The New York Times, BBC, Agence France-Presse, as well as regional outlets including Danas, BH Dani,  Slobodna Bosna, Peščanik, and Novi List. He maintains informal comment through the East Ethnia blog. He has taught and held visiting positions at a variety of institutions, including University of California Berkeley, Clark University, University of Bologna, Institute of Advanced Study Budapest, University of Belgrade and University of Niš.


University of California
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1997
University of California
Other higher degree, Master of Arts | 1992
Swarthmore College
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts | 1988