While many histories of the Balkans have been published, some very good and others poor, there is as yet no history of institutions in the Balkans. This is what the contributors to "Ottomans into European" offer the reader: a history of the most salient political institutions of the region: bureaucracies, judiciaries, democratic elections, free media, local and central government - and their frequently strained relations with traditional institutions. They also examine the selection, evolution, and performance of institutions in the post-Ottoman Balkans, and try to account for variations throughout the region. In writing this institutional history of the Balkans the contributors set themselves two key questions: did the post-Ottoman wave of Europeanisation and Western-type institution-building fail in the Balkans, and does this explain the region's continuing political fragility? And if this is the case, are there underlying structural determinants explaining that failure which might manifest themselves again in present attempts to re-integrate the region, from Turkey to Albania?
DR WIM VAN MEURS has been Associate Professor of European History and Politics in the Political History Department at Radboud University Nijmegen since September 2004. DR ALINA MUNGIU-PIPPIDI is Professor of Political Science and Chair of Democracy Studies at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. She was a Shorenstein Fellow of Harvard University (1997- 1998), a Fulbright Fellow at Harvard (1994-1995), and a Jean Monnet Fellow of the European University Institute.