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Information technologies and representational spaces at the outposts of the global political economy: redrawing the Balkan image of Slovenia

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Drawing upon insights from Deibert's (1997) reconstituted medium theory and critical geopolitics literature, this article examines Slovenia'sefforts at crafting an image of itself via the Internet for specific strategic goals such as EU and NATO accession, the promotion of tourism and the attraction of foreign direct investment. Through an examination of both the material and discursive practices undertaken by the Slovenian government, we demonstrate the difficulty inherent in challenging tropes that hegemonic powers disseminate through various media in order to craft the geopolitical world they operate in. Slovenia's websites represent an important form of resistance to hegemonic visions of space, visions that have excluded Slovenia's accession to certain power structures. The government uses the Internet to construct a discourse refuting assertions of unreadiness to accede to these institutions, a form of online lobbying that attempts to redraw the image of Slovenia in the minds of a global public. We conclude this examination not by making grand pronouncements about the efficacy of these efforts, but by demonstrating that these images are part and parcel of the efforts to disassociate Slovenia from the negative connotations of the Balkan moniker.The fact that these efforts incorporate the Internet, when linked to material practices and policies, raises questions about the possibilities of such resistance via new communication technologies.
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Keywords: BALKAN; CRITICAL GEOPOLITICS; GEOPOLITICAL DISCOURSE; MEDIUM THEORY; PLACE PROMOTION; SLOVENIA

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2001

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