Kosovo is one of several Western Balkans countries that are part of the next round of accession to the EU. Like Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia, it is also a country in which the history of conflict is recent and the benefits of EU membership ought to be a strong economic and political enticement to meet the standards necessary for membership. Yet, instead of major transformation of the post-conflict society towards democratization, economic development and a robust human rights regime, the prospect of European Union membership appears to be leading to superficial legal changes without enforcement. This article investigates the tensions between internal challenges to legal change and external pressures for reform, adding to the literature on the decoupling of Europeanization and domestic change in candidate countries. A short analysis of one policy area, women’s property rights, illuminates the gaps between legal change and enforcement processes. The second major contribution of the article is a consideration of how and when a change in law can lead to social change. It is argued here that legal change in response to EU conditionalities may begin superficially, but creates an opportunity for collective action that can eventually lead to democratic change and a more robust enforcement of law.

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Post-print Article

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Copyright © 2015 American Council of Learned Societies.

The definitive version is available at: http://eep.sagepub.com/content/early/recent

DOI: 10.1177/0888325415593631

Full Citation:

Joireman, Sandra F. "External Conditionalities and Institutional Change: Constructing Constituencies for the Rule of Law in Kosovo." East European Politics & Societies, 2015, 1-29. doi:10.1177/0888325415593631.