Besnik Pula


Besnik Pula

Assistant Professor


528 Major Williams Hall
220 Stanger Street
Blacksburg, VA 24061




Department Membership

Political Science


  • Global and Comparative Political Economy
  • Post-Communist Transformations
  • Social and Political Theory
  • Skill Formation Regimes

Professional Activities

  • American Sociological Association
  • American Political Science Association
  • International Studies Association
  • Council for European Studies
  • Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies


  • Ph.D. University of Michigan
  • M.A. Georgetown University
  • B.A. Hunter College

Research Interests

    Awards and Honors

    Recipient, American Sociological Association Postdoctoral Fellowship Program and the National Science Foundation, “Understanding the Current Economic Crisis and its Social Impacts,” 2012-14. Host institution: Princeton University. 

    Postdoctoral Fellowship, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, “Institutional Change in Contemporary Capitalism,” 2012-13 (Declined). 

    Reinhard Bendix Best Graduate Student Paper Award, Section on Comparative and Historical Sociology, American Sociological Association, 2008

    Selected Publications

    Book Chapters

    Globalization Under and After Socialism: The Evolution of Transnational Capital in Central and Eastern Europe (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2018)
    “Building the Cities of Empire: Urban Planning in the Colonial Cities of Italy’s Fascist Empire,” in George Steinmetz (ed.), Sociology and Empire (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013). 

    “Iterations of Sovereignty: Kosovo and the New Mode of Peripheralization,” in Vida Knežević, Kristian Lukić, Ivana Marjanović and Gordana Nikolić (eds.), Free and Sovereign: Art, Theory and Politics. A Collection of Essays and Interviews on Kosovo and Serbia (Novi Sad, Serbia: NAPON, 2013).


    “What Makes Firms Competitive? States, Markets, and Organisational Embeddedness in Competitive Firm Restructuring in Postsocialist Economies,” New Political Economy, Pre-publication online (2017).

    “Whither State Ownership? The Persistence of State-Owned Industry in Postsocialist Central and Eastern Europe,” Journal of East-West Business, Vol. 23, No. 4 (2017), pp. 309-336.

    “Institutionalizing a Weak State: Law and Jurisdictional Conflict between Bureaucratic and Communal Institutions in the Albanian Highlands,” Comparative Studies in Society and History, Vol. 57, No. 3 (2015), pp. 637-664.

    “Effects of the European Financial and Economic Crisis in Kosovo and the Balkans: Modes of Integration and Transmission Belts of Crisis in the ‘Super-periphery’” East European Politics, Vol. 30, No. 4 (2014), pp. 507-525.

    Sponsored Research

    CLAHS Niles Grant for the study of skill formation regimes in Hungary and the Czech Republic, 2017-18

    American Sociological Association / National Science Foundation Fellowship for the study of the effects of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, 2012-14.

    Fulbright-Hays Fellowship, US Department of Education, 2005-06.

    Additional Information

    Prof. Pula’s main interests lie in the comparative political economy of the states of Central and Eastern Europe. His book, Globalization Under and After Socialism (2018) examines the history of transnational production under socialism and its role in the making of the contemporary globalized economies in the postcommunist states of Central and Eastern Europe. His current research is focused on the institutional analysis of skill formation regimes in Central and Eastern Europe, examining in particular the relationships between international economic specialization, labor markets, and educational reform.  In addition to this research, Prof. Pula has ongoing interests in critical and institutionalist theories of political economy, qualitative and comparative methodologies, and social and political theory. Trained in the study of macro-institutional analysis and social and cultural change, Prof. Pula’s contributions include work on the historical sociology of state formation in southeast Europe which has received multiple awards from the Comparative and Historical Section of the American Sociological Association. His research has been published in journals including New Political Economy, East European Politics, Political Power and Social Theory, Comparative Studies in History and Society, Theory and Society, Nationalities Papers, and as various book chapters.