ArticlePDF Available

Grasping the empirical realities of peace in post-war northern Mitrovica

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

While previous research has focused on the conflicts and division in Mitrovica, Kosovo, the present article explores how peace and conflict are intertwined in the post-war city by focusing on sites where communities live side by side in an otherwise segregated city. A key finding is that the most conflictual residential areas in northern Mitrovica also are places where what we call peace acts, peace issues and peace perceptions are found. Our research suggests that even in spaces in the city where a history of violence is entrenched, the situation can seldom be reduced to be seen only as purely conflictual; rather, these ‘hotspots’ often prove to be spaces where reproduction of peace – however quotidian – also occurs at the same time. This points us to the complexity of the realities of peace, where remnants of war and potential for a co-existing peace often overlap and are sometimes intrinsically intertwined.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at
https://www.tandfonline.com/action/journalInformation?journalCode=rtwt20
Third World Thematics: A TWQ Journal
ISSN: 2380-2014 (Print) 2379-9978 (Online) Journal homepage: https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rtwt20
Grasping the empirical realities of peace in post-
war northern Mitrovica
Anna Jarstad & Sandra Segall
To cite this article: Anna Jarstad & Sandra Segall (2019): Grasping the empirical realities
of peace in post-war northern Mitrovica, Third World Thematics: A TWQ Journal, DOI:
10.1080/23802014.2019.1687012
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/23802014.2019.1687012
© 2019 The Author(s). Published by Informa
UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis
Group.
Published online: 13 Nov 2019.
Submit your article to this journal
View related articles
View Crossmark data
Grasping the empirical realities of peace in post-war northern
Mitrovica
Anna Jarstad
a,b
and Sandra Segall
a
a
Department of Political Science, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden;
b
Department of Government, Uppsala
University, Uppsala, Sweden
ABSTRACT
While previous research has focused on the conicts and division in
Mitrovica, Kosovo, the present article explores how peace and conict
are intertwined in the post-war city by focusing on sites where com-
munities live side by side in an otherwise segregated city. Akey nding
is that the most conictual residential areas in northern Mitrovica also
are places where what we call peace acts, peace issues and peace
perceptions are found. Our research suggeststhateveninspacesin
the city where a history of violence is entrenched, the situation can
seldombereducedtobeseenonlyaspurelyconictual; rather, these
hotspotsoften prove to be spaces where reproduction of peace
however quotidian also occurs at the same time. This points us to the
complexity of the realities of peace, where remnants of war and
potential for a co-existing peace often overlap and are sometimes
intrinsically intertwined.
ARTICLE HISTORY
Received 15 April 2019
Accepted 28 October 2019
KEYWORDS
Peace
urban violence
post-war
Mitrovica
divided city
Introduction
In February 2008, Kosovo
1
unilaterally declared independence from Serbia. Despite years of
EU-facilitated talks between elites in Belgrade, Serbia and Pristina, Kosovo, Kosovoslegal
status remains at the heart of a dispute between Kosovo and Serbia. During recent years, talks
between the two sides have included suggestions of a possible land swap. Under this
proposal, the Albanian-dominated Preševo Valley in southern Serbia would become part of
Kosovo while the area north of the Ibar river would become part of Serbia in order to create
more ethnically homogenous states. Such swap is strongly opposed by nationalist and liberals
on both sides (BBC, 6 September 2018). Located in northern Kosovo, the city of Mitrovica was
socially, spatially and demographically divided during and after the Kosovo War and continues
to be a fault line in the wider Serbia-Kosovo conict. If the above land swap went ahead,
Mitrovica would ocially be divided between Kosovo and Serbia.
There is a growing literature on Mitrovica as a post-war city, centring on the partitioning of
Mitrovica,
2
boundaries and divisions in the cityscape,
3
governmentality and urban conicts
over peace(s),
4
statehood and place-making,
5
and frictional peacebuilding.
6
These studies
tend to focus primarily on division in Mitrovica, and especially on the Main Bridge as the
epicentre of interethnic violence, however in this article we argue that we can achieve a more
nuanced understanding of how peace and conict are intertwined in the post-war city by
CONTACT Anna Jarstad anna.jarstad@statsvet.uu.se
THIRD WORLD THEMATICS: A TWQ JOURNAL
https://doi.org/10.1080/23802014.2019.1687012
© 2019 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/
licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly
cited.
conducting a spatial analysis of the sites where communities live side by side in an otherwise
segregated city. Further, we nd that despite the overarching conictual relations there are
also strands of peaceful relations between Kosovo Albanian and Kosovo Serb residents in
northern Mitrovica. Hence, we focus on the northern part of the city which is the home to the
only multi-ethnic residential neighbourhoods in Kosovo in order to grasp the nuances and
diversity such proximity provides.
ThemosteasilyaccessiblenarrativesaboutMitrovica are those presented by politicians, in
the media, and by international organisations, and these all emphasise the conictual rela-
tions in the region. On the international level the region is in a state of negative peace,i.e
there is an absence of war between Serbia and Kosovo, but much of the conict remains
unresolved, lacking true reconciliation. There is genuine conict over territorial issues, war
memoriesarekeptalive,andthepropaganda wars continue along with economic conict
actions manifested by taris raised to block imports of Serbian goods to Kosovo.
Nonetheless, in relation to many other post-war cities which still face a high level of
armed violence, Mitrovica is comparatively less violent. Moreover, in parallel to narratives
of conict, there are also alternative narratives, which however may be less loud or vocal.
The purpose of this article is to investigate the narratives of those people with few links to
international donors who live or work in northern Mitrovica and how theydescribe
interethnic relations across dierent sites in the city. We nd that despite the unresolved
conict between Kosovo and Serbia, and ares of violence in the post-war city, there are
at the same time strands of peace at the societal level. Thus we nd that even in spaces in
northern Mitrovica where a history of violence is entrenched, the situation can seldom be
reduced to be seen only as purely conictual; rather, these hotspotsoften prove to be
spaces where reproduction of peace however quotidian also occurs at the same time.
This duality points us to the true complexity of the realities of peace in post-war regions
where remnants of war and potential for a co-existing peace often overlap and are
sometimes intrinsically intertwined. A key nding is that the most conictual residential
areas in northern Mitrovica also are places where what we call peace acts, peace percep-
tions and peace issues are found. This is not to say that there is no animosity at the local
level between Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs, but such animosity is often seen by
our interviewees as being fuelled by elites or as a reaction to regional events, such as
developments in transitional justice processes and international sports games.
The article is structured in the following way. First, we briey discuss our theoretical
point of departure and the methodology employed for the study. Then, we give a brief
background to the conicts in Mitrovica. Next, the empirical case study begins with a
section on the spatial distribution of conict and contestation in northern Mitrovica in
general before we present and discuss three residential areas in more depth. In the
concluding section we summarise our ndings.
Understanding conict and peace in post-war cities
This article studies the manifestations of both conict and peace.
7
The primary level of analysis
is the everyday interactions between communities; however, such interactions are not
isolated from events and actions at the political level. McConnell et al argue that peace as
experienced by residents may be understood as a fragile and contingent process that is
constituted through everyday relations and embodiments, which are also inextricably linked
2A. JARSTAD AND S. SEGALL
to geopolitical processes.
8
This is indeed true in the case of many deeply divided post-war
cities as they often provide a battle zone for larger proxy wars initiated and orchestrated by
agents whose interests extend beyond the municipal boundaries
9
and where there are
established urban frontiers.
10
For McConnell et al, the concept of everyday peace is closely related to the actions and
practices of individuals, groups, institutions, and other actors in (re)producing peace. This
notion of the everydayin post-war environments refers to the ways in which people cope by
whatever means they have to make their lives the best they can.
11
Williams highlights how
using everyday peace as a theoretical point of departure oers an analytical framing for
understanding how peace as a sociospatial relation, is reproduced through and against
dierent sites.
12
A key presupposition in this view is that peace is an inherently political
process, formed through the creation of both dissimilarities and connections as well as being
assembled and negotiated through dierent techniques of power.
13
While this approach
helps us to identify what people view as conict and peace, in this article we also aim to
theorise in more detail the content of the conictual and peaceful interactions. However, the
existing denitions of peace beyond the absence of war are not well conceptualised and the
specic meaning and constituent component are rarely analytically clear.
14
In one of the more
fully theoretically developed articles, Höglund and Söderberg Kovacs aim to capture the
diversity of peace in societies where peace agreements have been reached. Their model
builds on Galtungsconict triangle and outlines dierent types of post-settlement peace
based on behaviour, attitudes and contested issues.
15
The work by Höglund and Söderberg
Kovacs is useful for understanding the problems in these societies and the shortcomings of
peace, but even this framework does little to conceptualise peace itself, what it is and what it
consists of. A new framework on peace as relationships, developed by Söderström, Åkebo and
Jarstad provides theoretical components of real world peace which is more than just the
absence of war, in order to allow description and analysis of dierent types of peace across all
analytical levels and over time. Relational peace between two actors means that the two
actors are interdependent on each other and do not use physical violence against each other.
The framework identies the presence of behavioural interaction as key to peace and postu-
latestwoformsofpeacefulrelation.Therst type is legitimate coexistence which entails
deliberation and mutual recognition. There is no obligation to collaborate or cooperate but
simply an acceptance of the existence of the other as a legitimate other with which one can
interact. The second type is friendship peace which suggests a higher degree of intimacy and
trust, as well as some form of cooperation.
16
Our work builds on this framework by focusing
on where, how, and why both conict and peace are present in dierent everyday settings in
northern Mitrovica and charting both hostile and peaceful attitudes, behaviour and issues
between Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs.
The article is based on Segall's eldwork conducted in Mitrovica between October and
December 2017 including informal conversations, eld notes and 15 in-depth interviews.
We purposefully selected respondents who were working and/or living in Mitrovica at the
time of the study, and whose work or function was directly related to community repre-
sentation and relations (i.e. municipal political candidates, community representatives, NGO
workers). The interviewees include members of several Kosovo communities: Kosovo Serbs,
Kosovo Albanians, Kosovo Bosniaks, Kosovo Goranis, and Kosovo Turks. None of the inter-
viewees were directly aliated with international organisations or foreign missions in
Kosovo. The latter selection criterion emanates from our desire to focus on local voices
17
THIRD WORLD THEMATICS: A TWQ JOURNAL 3
to complement the views of those employed by international organisations in our primary
and secondary sources which often reect the liberal western notion of peacebuilding. The
study covered the entire urban and suburban area of Mitrovica north of the Ibar River,
however the present article focuses on three sites in Mitrovica north of the river Ibar that
were considered particularly contested hotspotsfor violence by respondents and in
municipal planning.
Situating the study
Over history, Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs have been oppressed at dierent times
by the rulers from the other group, although there have also been times where every day
peaceful relations have taken place. When the areas were Yugoslavia, members of
dierent communities worked together in the mining industry and Mitrovica had the
highest rate in the whole country of Serbs that were procient in the Albanian language.
18
Although inter-communal marriages were rare in comparison to other Yugoslav cities,
19
residential neighbourhoods were often mixed and children from dierent communities
attended the same school facilities, albeit in separate classrooms.
20
Animosities between
Kosovo Serbs and Kosovo Albanians surfaced after the death of Tito and in 1989 Kosovo
lost the autonomous status which had been granted under the 1974 Yugoslav constitu-
tion. After a period of ever-increasing violence, hostilities between the Kosovo Albanian
guerrilla force, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA, in Albanian UÇK: Ushtria Çlirimtare e
Kosovës), the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Serbian police, and
paramilitary groups escalated into outright war in 1998. The armed conict ended in June
1999, and Kosovo became an international protectorate under UN auspices by approval of
the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1244. The resolution postponed
the settlement of Kosovos legal status and in February 2008, Kosovo unilaterally declared
its independence an action that remains contested by Serbia.
21
Some of the worst destruction in Mitrovica happened after the NATO bombing
campaign ended in June 1999
22
as violence, looting, and house burnings forced thou-
sands to leave their homes.
23
In light of this widespread violence, the French KFOR
(Kosovo Force led by NATO under a UN mandate) set up checkpoints on the bridges in
the middle of the town, an action which contributed to cementing the immediate post-
war division of the city.
24
For many years, it was impossible to travel between north and
south without being accompanied by KFOR.
25
Today, two bridges are open for both
pedestrians and vehicles (the Eastern Bridge and the Suhodoll/Suvi Do Bridge), while the
Main Bridge and the small walking bridgeare only open for pedestrians.
Two decades after the end of the war, the city of Mitrovica in northern Kosovo still remains
largely residentially segregated. The southern municipality has around 72,000 inhabitants, and
the vast majority are Kosovo Albanian; in 2015 only 14 inhabitants in this half of the city were
Kosovo Serbs.
26
The northern municipality has population of about 29,000 including around
4,900 Kosovo Albanians who mostly live in the western outskirts of the city.
27
In the south, the
currency is the Euro while in the north people generally use Dinars. The two sides of the city
have dierent country codes and people who move between them often carry two cell
phones or two SIM-cards in one phone.
Despite this virtual segregation, Mitrovica is the only place in Kosovo where members
of the Kosovo Serb and Kosovo Albanian communities meet outside of international
4A. JARSTAD AND S. SEGALL
workplaces on a daily basis.
28
In fact, Mitrovicas northern part is home to the only truly
multi-ethnic neighbourhoods in Kosovo.
29
This physical proximity between dierent
groups makes it possible to take the city as a focus for the empirical study of everyday
interactions between groups which of course would not be possible in places where there
is no inter-community contact.
30
Figure 1 shows a map of northern Mitrovica. The Main Bridge is Mitrovicasmost
publicised locality and a highly symbolic site which is contested by both sides.
Regarded as a ashpoint throughout the post-settlement years, the bridge is still
constantly under watch by the Carabineri (Italian military police) and Kosovan Police
force.
32
During regional events such as sports games between Serbia and Albania,
Turkey, or Kosovo there are frequently incidents on the bridge, such as young
Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs throwing stones at each other.
33
In a 2017
survey, Mitrovica citizens were asked about their feelings with regards to using the
bridge, and a total of 60 per cent of respondents replied that they felt uncomfor-
table, threatened or exposed when crossing it, while 24.3 per cent said they felt
normal, and 15.7 per cent stated that they never cross it.
34
One respondent in our
study, a Kosovo Albanian woman described how she and her friends always accom-
pany each other to the Main Bridge after dark as they live on opposite sides of the
river. She then goes on to explain how the respective zones of safety for herself and
her friends shift as soon as they reach the bridge:
Figure 1. Map of Mitrovicas mixed neighbourhoods with names in Albanian and Serbian.
The English names of these areas are Bosniak Mahala (in Serbian: Bošnjačka Mahala and in Albanian: Lagjja e
Boshnjakëve), Miners Hill (in Serbian: Mikronaselje and in Albanian: Kodra e Minatoreve), Three Towers (in Serbian: Tri
Solitera and in Albanian: Tre rrokaqiejt), Doctors Valley (in Serbian: Dolina Doktora and in Albanian: Lagja e Doktoreve). The
areas Brdjani (in Serbian)/Kroi i Vitakut (in Albanian), and Suvi Do (in Serbian)/Suhodoll (in Albanian) have no English
translations.
31
The map also shows bridges and other locations mentioned in the article.
THIRD WORLD THEMATICS: A TWQ JOURNAL 5
Some of my closest friends are Serbs (. ..) we always walk each other up to the bridge at night.
I leave them by the bridge when we have been out in the south, and they always escort me
up to the bridge if we have gone out in the north. Its an act of caring and being worried
about your friendswell-being, but you are limited at the same time, because one step further
can be dangerous sometimes, especially by night, one step is enough to reverse the roles at
the bridge, if you know what I mean (. ..) Frankly, thats why we stop exactly at the bridge and
do not escort each other further, its because when I escort my friends, I cannot proceed, as
there is where my safety ends, and theirs begins and vice versa. Its also a bit paradoxical,
when one really thinks of it.
35
This act of caring and friendship is an example of a story seldom told about Mitrovica. It is
an instance of mutual trust, a reciprocal act that is only limited by the boundary that the
bridge poses after nightfall. This border exists even for those who pass it problem-free in
daylight on an everyday basis.
Members of the two groups in Mitrovica generally have limited everyday contact and
the city is often portrayed by outside observers as an extremely polarised context.
Nevertheless it is worth pointing out that according to a 2014 community attitude survey,
the vast majority of Kosovo Serb and Kosovo Albanian residents (73.9 per cent) would
accept a member of the other group as a friend. Similarly, in Mitrovica South a total of 72.3
per cent stated that they would agree to having a boss who is a member of the other
community, and in Mitrovica North a total of 63 per cent said they would accept such an
arrangement in their workplace.
36
The urban and suburban area of Mitrovica north of the Ibar river are rather diverse, despite
the relatively small size in terms of population and territory. For instance, in the centre of the
northern part of the city Serbian ags hang in the pedestrian area and the roundabout has a
statue of Serbian icon Tsar Lazar at its centre,
37
and this is perceived as a place where the
Kosovo Albanian community would be hesitant to go.
38
In contrast, on the street that runs
parallel to the river towards the Western parts of the city (7 September/Kolašinska Street) you
can nd bilingual signage on shops and grati points to the presence of both Kosovo Serb
and Kosovo Albanian communities. This is also where the Tri Solitera high-rises are located,
three buildings which are home to members of both groups.
MinersHillisanothernorthernareawhichishome to members of both communities. In
this neighbourhood, the communities live in close proximity to one another. Children here
have shared the playgrounds in this neighbourhood since the immediate post-war years,
39
and they also play football together.
40
While most Kosovo Albanians in the north seek medical
care in the south, there is a small health facility in Miners Hill where since Yugoslav times a
doctor has attended to members of all communities in the neighbourhood.
41
Similarly, while
mostKosovoAlbanianchildrengotoschoolinthesouthernmunicipality,thereisasmall
Albanian-language educational facility with some 18 pupils in MinersHill.
42
In our interview,
one Kosovo Serb resident of this neighbourhood described the level of interaction between
the residents in MinersHillasfollows:we never had some kind of conicts, I know that they are
Albanians, I dont have connections with them, they dont have connections with me (. . .) we are
like hi,hello,thats all, because they respect me I respect them.
43
Similar accounts of co-
existence have been voiced by residents in other research and documentary material on
community relations in Miners Hill, and residents in the area also organised meetings
between representatives from both communities in the immediate post-war years.
44
6A. JARSTAD AND S. SEGALL
While the areas close to the river and Tri Solitera are places where interactions between
Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs take place, our interviews show that there are three
neighbourhoods where peace and conict are particularly intertwined in slightly dierent
ways. Thus, this article focuses on the centric residential and commercial neighbourhood
of Bosniak Mahala; the area of Brdjani/Kroi i Vitakut on the Western hills on the outskirts of
the city: as well as the Suhodoll/Suvi Do and Doctors Valley areas which are located on the
Western outskirts of the city, with residents mostly living along the road parallel to the
river Ibar. The sites were selected based on the criterion that they are residential neigh-
bourhoods where both Kosovo Serbs and Kosovo Albanians reside.
Bosniak Mahala: the paradox of insecurity and normalisation
The Bosniak Mahala neighbourhood stretches from the Main Bridge beyond the Eastern
Bridge in northern Mitrovica, and is home to several communities, including Kosovo
Albanians and Kosovo Serbs. The Eastern Bridge is the most frequently used bridge in
the city and some see this as a bridge that connects rather than divides the two sides.
45
After the war, Bosniak Mahala suered the most serious violent incidents and saw the
largest number of casualties in the whole of Mitrovica.
46
As it was located on the banks of
the Ibar, in early 2000 the area became part of the condence zone established by UNMIK
and controlled by the French KFOR.
47
Given its mixed population and its proximity to the
river it became a strategic site after the war. According to one respondent, a representa-
tive of the Kosovo Bosniak community: they wanted to make a buer zone . . . because
extremes were coming from both sides, we had a condence zone, and then there was
the attempt to ethnically cleanse this zone. (. ..) the biggest and the most serious incidents
were in Bošnjačka Mahala. And the biggest number of victims, casualties, was in Bošnjačka
Mahala.
48
Today, Bosniak Mahala is perceived as one neighbourhood with a particular high level of
conict
49
and this can also be observed in the cityscape. Here ethnically charged murals are
more pronounced and oensive and written on top of each other. Whenever there is a violent
incident in close proximity to the Main Bridge, a revenge ght often takes place in other
neighbourhoods, particularly in Bosniak Mahala.
50
This area is considered to be particularly
unsafe at night, especially because of a lack of police presence.
51
However, there is also the
belief that the situation in Bosniak Mahala has improved, mostly due to the eorts of citizens
in this residential neighbourhood.
52
At the same time, it was emphasised that the truth about
many incidents seldom surfaces and that violent incidents may be framedas inter-ethnic even
when it is related to something else, such as debt or crime.
53
Bosniak Mahala is the area which shows the most obvious signs of mixing. For instance,
licence plates continue to impede travels between north and south; someone with a KM-
registered car (from Kosovska Mitrovica, a licence plate issued by Serbia) would never drive to
the south for fear of provoking violence while those with a RKS car (Republic of Kosovo) are
wary of showing their plates in the north. While this matter has been resolved in theory, in
practice it is still problematic and many people therefore stop at the Eastern Bridge or further
up on the Knjaza Miloša/Princi Millosh Street to either change licence plates as they go in
whichever direction, or remove them entirely, going from the south to the north. People thus
stop to change their licence plates in Bosniak Mahala, and both licence plates are seen here, so
as such this can be said to be a place where such duality is tolerated. Another example of
THIRD WORLD THEMATICS: A TWQ JOURNAL 7
compromise shown in this neighbourhood concerns the show of ags. For Albanian ag day,
celebrated on 28 November 2017, agswerehungalongthelamppostsontheEastern
Bridge all the way through the rst intersection on the northern side on the lower part of
Knjaza Miloša/Princi Millosh Street. Several weeks later, the Albanian ags remained in place,
which was interpreted as a sign of tolerance by one respondent, a Kosovo Albanian NGO
worker.
54
There are plenty of other physical signs of co-existence in Bosniak Mahala; the shops
commonly display their business names in both Serbian and Albanian, for example bakery
(pekara/furra) and butcher shop (mesara/mishtore), while some prices are shown in Euros
instead of Dinars. It is not uncommon to hear Serbian being spoken by people shopping
for goods in shops which bear Albanian names. The level of trust between some of the
vendors and clients was exemplied by one interviewee who overheard a conversation in
a fruit and vegetable shop:
A Serbian comes and buys lots of veggies for his store in the north. Then he tells the Albanian
owner Hey, Im getting all these tomatoes but Ill give you the money when I sell them.(...)
and he says dont worry for the money, whenever you have it, you bring it to me. And that
was beautiful because right there you see some trust. Theyre building some trust and thats
really important, to trust each other.
55
These interactions may be characterised simply as engagement based on needs; however,
even the smallest steps in inter-group contacts can be understood as acts of peace given
the basic trust they require.
56
Also, while respondents see the majority of these exchanges
in Bosniak Mahala as merely shallow conversations on practicalities such as prices and
features of the product at hand,
57
there are instances when these encounters go beyond
merely need-based factors and are described as friendship:
I ran into another Serbian who just came to buy something for his household there, from the
north to the Bošnjačka Mahala, and I asked him so why do you come here among all the
stores over there?He said, well the food is really fresh, vegetables are always fresh, prices are
good, and I know the owner, he is my friend, so thats why I come here. Beautiful, you know?
If that was my only story about Mitrovica, oh my God, life is beautiful, you know. So I think
people sometimes really can (. . .) without prejudice, they can co-exist, but then you always
have these extremists on both sides who are ruining their normal life.
58
Similarly, there is a space in Bosniak Mahala where young people from all communities
study and interact on an everyday basis
59
: the International Business College Mitrovica
60
(IBCM). The language of instruction is English and speaking in English with us, one
interviewee, a Kosovo Serb student council member described this context of everyday
co-existence as unproblematic and distanced from problems associated with the conict:
I have colleagues who are Albanians, Roma, they are Bosnians (. . .) and we are talking, theres
no problem, we are functioning very well (. ..) people are usually oriented on the studies and
they are not looking on something that have happened twenty years ago. We are looking
more in the future and how cooperation between each other can help us more, and try to
actually prot out of that (. . .) while [my colleagues] were having break they go to drink a
coee and nobody asks them what is your ethnicity, and they have coee, chatting. We are
actually speaking a lot and were honest, we share the same problems the same issues, for
instance, same taste in music and similar.
61
8A. JARSTAD AND S. SEGALL
According to this student, the International Business College has thus become a space
where students experience frequent problem-free engagement. For instance, the faculty
and student council also comprise members of dierent communities. In this sense, the
college can be seen as a space where everyday peace acts take place. One Kosovo Serb
interviewee continues:
[the school is] full of young students who have the same goal. They cooperate good, theres
no problems there. Why? You just need to create space where they will all pursue a common
goal, or a huge company where all of them will get the salary at the end of the month and
they will be happy. They will. Because when people were employed here and had monthly
revenues they didnt have time to think about this bullshit like, I will kill Albanian or I will kill
Serb. They were friends because they were satised; they were able to provide money for
supporting their families, on the other hand to be friends with everybody, and to, I dont
know, enjoy life in the end.
62
In contrast, teenagers overall were considered a high-risk group in terms of feelings of
animosity or hostility towards members of the other community. While many young
people didnt experience the war, negative attitudes towards the other community are
often transmitted from older generations.
63
One example of a project which actively
addresses this problem is a neighbourhood committee of residents in Bosniak Mahala
which tries to reduce quarrels between groups of teenagers. The committee organises for
the teenagers to be taken out of the neighbourhood for a weekend to play sports and get
to know one another. After this, the ghts in Bosniak Mahala stopped and now these
teenagers say hi to one another in the street.
64
These examples from everyday life in Bosniak Mahala clearly demonstrate the paradox
of insecurity and normalisation. Despite their fear of violence due to the unsolved
conict between Kosovo and Serbia, the interviewees also experience everyday peace.
This normalisation is manifested by peace acts of communication, meetings and coopera-
tion; expressed in peace perceptions such as tolerance and trust; and identied as peace
issues, based on common ground in shared life goals and hobbies, as well as shared
spaces in shops, school and work places.
Brdjani/Kroi i Vitakut: co-existence despite (re)settlement policies
In the more suburban neighbourhood of Brdjani/Kroi i Vitakut, the most contested issues
relate to housing (re)construction, (re)settlement, and returns. Almost two decades after the
end of the war, some houses are still in ruins. In Mitrovica as a whole, the overall return process
has been modest with only a small number of returnees.
65
In 2014, UNHCR gures suggested
that some 6,945 Kosovo Serbs were still displaced from the south side of Mitrovica to the four
northern municipalities, while some 7,121 Kosovo Albanians remained displaced from the
northern municipalities to Mitrovica South.
66
Returns to the Brdjani/Kroi i Vitakut neighbourhood have been particularly dicult.
After the war, only Kosovo Serbs remained in this area.
67
When the reconstruction of
houses began, the Kosovo Serb community demanded that any returns to Brdjani/Kroi i
Vitakut should be undertaken reciprocally meaning that the authorities should facilitate
displaced Kosovo Serbs to returning to their properties in the south at the same time.
68
The Kosovo Serb residents also claimed that many of the intended Kosovo Albanian
returnees had never been residents of the neighbourhood nor did they have valid
THIRD WORLD THEMATICS: A TWQ JOURNAL 9
construction permits. Tensions related to returns in this neighbourhood have uctuated
over the years, with repeated protests (from both sides) between the years of 2012 and
2015.
69
The heart of the conict is the fear of becoming a minority group surrounded by a
majority, one Kosovo Serb CSO worker stated:
we are here at risk of being overpopulated or basically being subjected to the Albanian
majority which we dont want to be done, because we have seen what happened to Serbs
south of Ibar who are subjected to the Albanian majority. So either they dont exist, they were
expelled. They didnt return or their cattle and agricultural equipment is stolen on the daily
basis. So, like, we dont want that.
70
The Kosovo Government holds that Serbia is trying to change the ethnic structure in the
two areas of Suvi Do/Suhodoll and Brdjani/Kroi i Vitakut
71
and the north through illegal
construction of apartment buildings.
72
The Serbian Government has mirrored Pristinas
claims by saying that the Kosovo Government is attempting to articially change the
demographic picturethrough land usurpation and illegal constructionin Brdjani/Kroi i
Vitakut and the entire northern Mitrovica region.
73
One perception is that the latest protests in Brdjani/Kroi i Vitakut were in fact largely
orchestrated, as they ended so abruptly after just a few months or that they were
specically a reaction to a statement by a Kosovo Albanian political party calling a new
residential area, Sunčana Dolina
74
in the neighbouring Municipality of Zvecan, Serbias
colonisation of the north.
75
In 2015, the two Mayors (Mitrovica South and Mitrovica North in the Kosovo system)
called for mutual compromise and introduced a moratorium on construction in this
neighbourhood and this helped relieve the tensions.
76
News media recorded how the
local government ocials shook hands in the neighbourhood
77
and a working group was
established to discuss these issues, including central and local level Kosovo government
ocials, as well as representatives of the communities in Kroi i Vitakut/Brdjani.
78
In 2017,
the violent conict over housing (re)construction in Brdjani/Kroi i Vitakut was viewed as
having nished. One Kosovo Serb interviewee in 2017 explained how tension had been
instrumentalised by politicians, and suggested that this tension was easily resolved by
stopping the project of housing reconstruction:
both sides want to move people who never lived there. That is the biggest problem. So, when
they want to resettle people, usually they want to resettle people who never lived there. (. ..)
they are resettling people just maybe they need some additional votes for the elections (. ..)
But these are political games that they play, and you know, they want to use, to change this
ethnic situation in every way (. ..) Now when they dont try to rebuild or to build new houses,
both of the communities, you dont hear about problems in Brdjani. There is nothing about
Brdjani in the news, everything is normal. There is no even single incident happening in the
Brdjani and people are living together, why? Because political attention is not anymore on
Brdjani, its on something else.
79
Several of the respondents perceived politics as the main obstacle to peaceful co-existence,
enhanced inter-community cooperation, and improved neighbourhood communication. The
interviews show that the general perception is that inter-community relations between the
Kosovo Serb and the Kosovo Albanian communities in Mitrovica have improved in compar-
ison to previous years, although it is still not satisfactory. Instances of cooperation are unusual
and only take place on isolated occasions, related to issues that concern both communities.
10 A. JARSTAD AND S. SEGALL
These matters tend to be related to infrastructural problems and not to conictive issues.
Politics and lack of trust between communities makes cooperation more dicult, but there
are examples where this takes place, for instance when Kosovo Serbs and Kosovo Albanians
came together to nance a new power supply in 2016.
80
Moreover, other strategies were
applied to maintain constructive relations, such as avoiding topics related to politics and more
chargedissues. One Kosovo Albanian resident of the Kroi i Vitakut/Brdjani neighbourhood
says:
They communicate, but not some tough topics, they discuss mainly about daily work (. . .) The
people I know, both Serbs and Albanians, are good people. Most of the places I frequent and
know people, its good, like, my circle, my neighbourhood, we speak freely. If I go elsewhere I
dont feel the same, other Serbs who live in neighbourhood never give me a reason to talk to
them. The current state of relations is in between good and bad, I cannot say it is perfect but it
is not the worst case.
81
Brdjani/Kroi i Vitakut is one of the places where the ruins are both material reminders and
symbols of the unresolved issue of returns of Kosovo Serbs and Kosovo Albanians
displaced during and after the war. The conict manifests in the attitudes of fear of
changed demography and becoming an ethnic minority in the area. Despite the tensions
that the (re)settlement policies create, interviewees also describe everyday peace acts of
communication such as refraining from talking about politics and the perception of
peaceful co-existence.
Our interpretation of the responses by the interviewees is that in Brdjani/Kroi i Vitakut
there is, in parallel to the conict, also a sort of co-existence that exists despite the
resettlement policies. While there is a fear that an inux of new residents or the return
of displaced persons would upset the delicate balance in the area, there is at the same
time a functioning everyday peace which is manifested by peace acts of deliberation and
compromises; expressed in peace perceptions such as acceptance of people of other
ethnicities than your own as residents in the neighbourhood, and peace issues such as
concerns for joint problems.
Suvi Do/Suhodoll and Doctors Valley: freedom of movement despite
municipal boundary conict
These two areas are in the West of the city and the residents of DoctorsValleylivein
close proximity to one another, while Suvi Do/Suhodoll is largely separated into two
dierent settlement: one is seen as the Kosovo Albanian one (located closest to the
northern urban centre) and the one further away from the city is regarded as the
Kosovo Serb settlement. The Albanian-majority area in Suhodoll/Suvi Do is clearly
demarcated in symbolic terms: through ag display (both Albanian and Kosovo
ags), street signs in the Albanian language and in Kosovo format, and grati
dominated by UÇK (KLA, the Kosovo Albanian guerrilla group during the war).
Entering Suhodoll/Suvi Do from the south, visitors also see a concrete cylinder with
UÇKand the Albanian escutcheon with the two-headed eagle sprayed on it. On the
other hand, the places where the Serbian settlement starts and ends are only subtly
marked, just by the licence plates on the cars, the small health facility with a sign in
Cyrillic, and the absence of street signs in Albanian.
THIRD WORLD THEMATICS: A TWQ JOURNAL 11
Mitrovicas institutional landscape is characterised by duplication of public service
provision where both Serbian and Kosovo institutions provide services through separate
systems.
82
Some public services such as the university the only institution that provides
higher education in the Serbian language in Kosovo and the hospital, are administered
and nanced by Serbia.
83
Suhodoll/Suvi Do and Doctors Valley are also the site of a highly contested issue,
namely, the municipal boundary between the Municipality of Mitrovica North and
Mitrovica South in the Kosovo system. This boundary matters both for political represen-
tation and service provisions, but could also become the state boundary between Kosovo
and Serbia should a land swap take place. Before the Ahtisaari Plan (Comprehensive
Proposal for the Kosovo Status Settlement) was presented by the UN Special Envoy in
2007, the city was de facto divided but there was no formal political and administrative
boundary. The Ahtisaari Plan paid particular attention to the Suvi Do/Suhodoll area and
included a map which marked the municipal boundary north of the Ibar River, meaning
that both the Doctors Valley neighbourhood and Suvi Do/Suhodoll were included in the
southern municipal jurisdiction. However, no formal agreement has been reached
between the Serbian and Kosovo governments, nor is there an agreement between the
Mayors.
84
The Kosovo Government argues that the municipal boundary as outlined in the
Ahtisaari Plan should be the nal one.
85
The Government of Serbia, however, refers to
another map found with the Kosovo Cadastral Agency which includes Suhodoll/Suvi Do in
the northern municipality. In the local Kosovo elections in 2013, the Suhodoll/Suvi Do
residents formed part of the northern municipalitys electorate.
86
The Mayor of the
Municipality of Mitrovica South has suggested that the demarcation is a non-issue by
stating that the area eectively belongs to the southern municipality (KoSSev, 25 October
2015). In the local elections of 2017, the Kosovo Serb residents were registered as voters of
the northern electorate,
87
while members of the Kosovo Albanian community were
registered as voters in the southern municipality.
88
The Serbian Government argues
that this means a de facto delineation was made as Kosovo Serbs were allowed to vote
in the north and therefore insists on demarcating the area into a Kosovo Albanian part
administered by the southern municipality and a Kosovo Serb part administered by the
Municipality of Mitrovica North.
89
The question of the municipal boundary is indeed profound and the stakes are high
ranging from municipal electorates and representation in local government
90
to notions of
partitioning Kosovo a proposal which was openly discussed in late 2018 when, as
mentioned above, Kosovo and Serb politicians discussed a possible land swap (RFERL, 29
September 2018). Among both Kosovo Serbs and Kosovo Albanians there is a feeling that
politicians are prioritising geo-political concerns and territory over citizens.
91
Despite being in a contested area, the transition between the urban centre and the
Suhodoll/Suvi Do area is seamless. Both people and cars move both ways, and even cars
with KM (Kosovska Mitrovica) licence plates drive through the Kosovo Albanian-majority
part of Suvi Do/Suhodoll,
92
while there is also a small health facility administered by
Serbia in the Kosovo Serb majority part of the area. In the Kosovo Albanian-majority part
of Suhodoll/Suvi Do there is a mosque that was built in 2016 and there is an Albanian-
language primary school.
93
Suhodoll/Suvi Do is indeed a grey zone and the strategies for
claimingand demarcating the area are also present in the linguistic landscape. In early
12 A. JARSTAD AND S. SEGALL
2017, street signs in the Albanian language and Kosovo format were placed in the
Suhodoll/Suvi Do area (Radio televizija Srbije, 28 February 2017). According to local
news media, some of the signs bore names of KLA soldiers. The signs were disputed by
the Kosovo Serb community and removed shortly after they had been placed there.
However, the representative of the Kosovo Serb community said actually, the signs had
possibly been removed by members of the Kosovo Albanian community in order to avoid
any neighbourhood conict.
94
In this sense, there seems to be instances when residents
attempt to diuse potential tensions in these adjacent settlements. In late 2017, there
were no observable Albanian-language signs in the Serb-majority part of the town,
however, in the surrounding areas there were street signs allocated by the Kosovo
Government.
95
Disentangling the nature of actual relations is a truly nitty-gritty task as there are often
diverse accounts of the same neighbourhood, however our research suggests that there is
a general sense that relations between Kosovo Serbs and Kosovo Albanians in this site
have improved. One Kosovo Serb interviewee explained that people had been:
cutting each others telephone lines, water supply lines and whatever (. . .) and in the end they
just realized that they are harming each other, not anybody else, like, if you cut my telephone,
I will cut your water and thats it. Simple problem and they stopped.
96
In a similar vein, the Kosovo Albanian former head of the Suhodoll/Suvi Do neighbour-
hood council said that there had been no incidents for a decade, stating rmly that:
for the Serbian and Albanian community in Suhodoll, there are no interethnic problems
for many years now. (. . .) in the last 10 years we didnt have even the smallest incident.
The cooperation is satisfactory, I dont know how to say this, moving up and down
through Suhodoll is possible either by foot or vehicles. We donthavethoseproblems.
Our properties are dened, we donthavethisproblemaswell(...)Iwouldliketo
openly say that the Albanian community and the Serb community in Suhodoll
cooperate.
97
Despite facing the highly contested issue of municipal boundaries, and living in an area where
the proposed land swap would divide the residents between Serbia and Kosovo, the freedom
of movement for both cars and people of dierent ethnicities along this road stands in bright
contrast to other clearly etched boundariesinthecity,suchastheMainBridgeandthe
Eastern Bridge.
Our conclusions concerning Suvi Do/Suhodoll and Doctors Valley is that there exists a
sort of freedom of movement despite the conict over the municipal boundary which
aects representation in local government and would become an acute issue if the parties
moved forward with a land swap deal. Hence, in parallel to the conicts, peace is
manifested by peace acts such as communication, deliberation and compromises. There
are also peace perceptions such as co-existence based on tolerance, and a peace issue of
freedom of movement; the transition between the urban centre and the Suhodoll/Suvi Do
area is seamless and both people and cars move both ways.
Bringing it all together
It is paramount to emphasise that in the Mitrovica case violent incidents and publicising
violence is also used to uphold divisions in the city, including the fabrication of so called
THIRD WORLD THEMATICS: A TWQ JOURNAL 13
articial incidents.
98
This is not to say that there are no animosities or violent incidents
which are the result of strained community relations. One Kosovo Bosniak local-level
politician and community representative stated that:
when it comes to that destabilization of the situation they have their own people on
both sides where they raise the nationalism when necessary, but for the incidents
occurring in the north such as like putting cars on re, throwing hand grenades on
the properties, its not conducted by ordinary citizens, there are groups which are paid
to do so from both sides.
99
We believe that in order to interpret and contextualise events in this post-war city, it is
important to include this understanding and perspective on conicts, contestation, and
the occurrence of violence in Mitrovica, as expressed in the quotation. However, it is also
imperative to consider the interests and potential gains surrounding the portrayal of both
peace and conict. For while we do not want to diminish the fundamental negative
eects of conict in Mitrovica, our research shows that alongside the conict there are
also multiple strands of everyday peace at the societal level. After a civil war, even
everyday acts such as greetings can have a positive eect on interethnic relations and
contribute to a sense of peace. In addition, respondents emphasised the fact that
disagreements on the micro-level were quite normal and that most often these do not
result in violent actions.
100
Such everyday peace manifests parallel to sentiments of fear
and distrust between Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs in Mitrovica. While tensions on
the ground are exaggerated by top-down measures and political elites, the conicts are
not created by the elites alone, and some violent incidents are initiated from below.
Our research suggests that even in spaces in the city where a history of violence is
entrenched, the situation can seldom be reduced to be seen only as purely conictual;
rather, these hotspotsoften prove to be spaces where reproduction of peace however
quotidian also occurs at the same time. In general, we can say that the places that are
understood as most conict-ridden or contested, are those that are home to mixed
communities and which are also located on the edges of what are the boundaries of
the urban settlement of northern Mitrovica. This could be interpreted as what Calame and
Charlesworth have called boundary etching in contested cities:
101
the Ibar river is the
more obvious boundary in the wider dispute, but in fact micro-boundaries are also etched
within mixed areas. However, this does not fully explain the peace as co-existence or
friendship which we have encountered in the residential areas, in the sense that the
boundaries do not simply become frontiers, but also function as shared spaces. There,
people make eorts to maintain peace, but these are often impeded or limited by political
events beyond the community level. Hence, violent behaviours and incompatible issues are
easily ignited by both local and external actors, while what we call peace acts, peace
perceptions and peace issues are seen as the embodiments of peace produced in these
neighbourhoods.
Table 1 summarises the embodiment of peaceful and hostile relations identied in
northern Mitrovica. These categories of behaviour, attitudes and issues inuence each
other. Peace acts can take the form of casual communication, for instance in relation to
trade in Bosniak Mahala, or cooperation on practical matters such as the power supply in
Brdjani/Kroi i Vitakut. While such contacts decrease social distance, there are also more
profound peace acts of cooperation, for example, actively discouraging conict behaviour
14 A. JARSTAD AND S. SEGALL
by rivalry teenagers in Bosniak Mahala or introducing a moratorium on construction of
new buildings in Brdjani/Kroi i Vitakut. Peace perceived as co-existence is characterised by
casual communication on need-based matters of mutual concern and tolerance of
ethnically charged symbols, whereas friendship is a more intimate relationship related
to trust. Peace issues, such as a sense of common ground can take the form of shared life
goals or hobbies. Spatiality and the build environment shapes the possibilities for peace
to evolve. The instances of shared space in shops, work places and the international
business school
in northern Mitrovica allows for a web of interactions where people can transcend
dierences.
The interviews conducted for this study show competing narratives of peaceful
and conictual everyday relations in the mixed neighbourhoods in northern
Mitrovica. These views were expressed by interviewees that were not directly
aliated with international organisations and foreign missions in Kosovo, thus we
seek to complement other more well-known expressions on the relations in the
region. This article has highlighted stories seldom told of peaceful co-existence and
friendship amidst violence and tension and points to the political issues that threa-
ten everyday peace. In particular, if the land swap took place and the border
between Serbia and Kosovo was drawn through the city of Mitrovica, some people
would feel forced to move and the possibilities for mixing and everyday peace in
these particular areas would thus be gravely undermined.
Notes
1. Given the fact that place names are highly contested, English names will be used throughout this
paper. When there is no English alternative, the order of place names in Serbian and Albanian
does not carry assumptions of whether an area is considered a Kosovo Serb-majority or a Kosovo
Albanian-majority municipality or location. Place names in respondentsaccounts have not been
modied.
2. Lemay-Hébert, Multiethnicité ou ghettoïsation?.
3. Pinos, Mitrovica.
4. Gusic, Contesting Peace in the Post-War City.
5. Björkdahl and Kappler. Peacebuilding and Spatial Transformation.
6. Björkdahl and Gusic, The Divided City.
7. For an overview of the literature on conict manifestations in the post-war city see the
introductory chapter to this collection.
8. McConnell et al., Introduction,11.
9. Calame and Charlesworth, Divided Cities,1112.
Table 1. The embodiment of peaceful and hostile relations in northern Mitrovica.
Category Manifestation of peace Manifestation of conict
Behaviour Peace act, such as communication, deliberation and
cooperation.
Violence
Symbols of exclusive ownership by ag
display and grati.
Attitudes Peace perceptions, such as co-existence based on tolerance,
and friendship based on trust.
Fear of moving towards a status of a
minority position.
Issues Peace issues such as common ground based on shared life
goals and hobbies.
Shared space, such as shops, school, work places.
Freedom of movement.
Municipal boundaries and state borders.
Resettlement policies and returns.
THIRD WORLD THEMATICS: A TWQ JOURNAL 15
10. Pullan and Baillie, Locating urban conicts,2021.
11. Roberts, Saving Liberal Peacebuilding from Itself,369.
12. Williams, Everyday Peace? 190.
13. Ibid., 178.
14. See e.g. Davenport, Melander, and Regan, The Peace Continuum; Firchow and Mac Ginty,
Measuring Peace; and Gleditsch, Nordkvelle, and Strand, Peace Research.
15. Höglund and Söderberg Kovacs, Beyond the Absence of War.
16. Söderström, Åkebo and Jarstad, Friends, Fellows and Foes.
17. Leonardsson and Rudd, The local turn”” 832.
18. Schwartze, Symbols of Reconstruction,222.
19. Gusic, Contesting Peace in the Post-War City, chapter 5.
20. Later, as tensions rose, Serbian and Albanian children attended school in shifts (Interview
with Kosovo Albanian civil society activist, 19 December 2017).
21. For the background to events leading up to the declaration of independence in 2008, refer e.
g. to Glenny, The Balkans; Jarstad, To Share or to Divide?227242; Judah, Kosovo; and
Malcolm, Kosovo, 2002.
22. See note 18 above.
23. Boyle, Revenge and Reprisal Violence in Kosovo,199201.
24. ONeill, Kosovo: An Unnished Peace,4546.
25. ESI, People or Territory?4.
26. OSCE, Municipality Prole Mitrovica South.
27. Ibid.
28. See note 19 above.
29. Interview with Kosovo Serb public policy NGO activist, 30 November 2017, Mitrovica.
30. Mac Ginty, Everyday Peace, 558559.
31. OSCE, Kosovo Communities Prole,4. Mixed neighbourhoods (see Figure 1) are understood
as settlements where members of the Kosovo Serb and Kosovo Albanian reside in the same
area, it does not take into account other minorities such as Kosovo-Bosniaks, Kosovo-Roma,
Kosovo-Turks, and Kosovo-Gorani.
32. Authorsobservation 2017; HRW, Failure to Protect,28.
33. Interview with Kosovo Serb public policy NGO activist. See note 29 above.
34. ADRC, Beyond the Bridge, 22.
35. Conversation with Kosovo Albanian NGO worker in mediation, 29 November 2017, Mitrovica.
36. Jovic, ASurvey of Ethnic Distance in Kosovo,265266.
37. The statue of Tsar Lazar was inaugurated in the summer of 2016. Lazar was a medieval ruler
from the fourteenth century and a symbol for Serbias armed struggle against the Ottoman
Empire, the statues presence resulted in the square being rendered a violation of the Kosovo
Constitution by the Kosovo Ombudsman (Ombudsman, Annual Report, 80).
38. Interview with Municipal Assembly member and shop owner in Mitrovica North, 7 December
2017, Mitrovica.
39. ICG, Bridging Kosovos Mitrovica Divide,15; and Conversation with Kosovo Serb resident, 29
November 2017.
40. OSCE, Skills for the Future.
41. Interview with Kosovo Albanian director of a womensrights association, 29 November 2017,
Mitrovica.
42. OSCE, Municipality Prole Mitrovica North.
43. Interview with Kosovo Serb member of the student council at International Business College
Mitrovica, 28 November 2017, Mitrovica.
44. ESI, Mitrovica Past and Future,; UNHCR, Fresh Start for Mixed Community in Kosovo,; and
KIPRED, Grass-Root Approaches to Inter-Ethnic Reconciliation,2526.
45. In a recent survey on citizen movements across the north-south divide only 9.9 per cent of
respondents stated that they had never used it (ADRC, Beyond the Bridge, 22); Interview with
Project ocer, 12 December 2017, Mitrovica.
16 A. JARSTAD AND S. SEGALL
46. Interview with Kosovo Bosniak Municipal Assembly candidate to the Municipality of Mitrovica
North representing the political party Koalicija Vakat; member of the Council for Peace and
Tolerance, 2 December 2017, Mitrovica.
47. Visoka and Beha, Clearing up the Fog, 24; and Interview with Kosovo Bosniak Municipal
Assembly candidate, see note 46 above.
48. Interview with Kosovo Bosniak Municipal Assembly candidate, see note 46 above.
49. Interview with Kosovo Serb member of the student council, see note 42 above; Interview with
project ocer, see note 45 above; and Interview with Kosovo Serb public policy NGO activist,
see note 29 above.
50. Interview with Kosovo Serb public policy NGO activist, see note 29 above; and Interview with
Kosovo Bosniak Municipal Assembly candidate, see note 46 above.
51. Interview with Kosovo Serb project ocer at peacebuilding grassroots organisation, 8
December 2017, Mitrovica.
52. See note 46 above.
53. Interview with Kosovo Serb project ocer at peacebuilding grassroots organisation, see note
45 above; and Interview with journalist at Radio Free Europe and Radio Television of Kosovo,
24 November 2017.
54. Conversation with Kosovo Albanian NGO worker in mediation, see note 35 above.
55. Interview with journalist, see note 53 above.
56. Simonsen, Addressing Ethnic Divisions,306.
57. Interview with Kosovo Serb representative of the Youth Educational Club Sinergija, 6
December 2017, Mitrovica.
58. See note 53 above.
59. Interview with Kosovo Serb project ocer at peacebuilding grassroots organisation, see note
50 above; and Interview with Kosovo Serb member of the student council, see note 43 above.
60. IBCM is registered as an international foundation. It is supported by external donors and was
founded by a foreign NGO.
61. Interview with Kosovo Serb member of the student council, see note 43 above.
62. Interview with Kosovo Serb project ocer at peacebuilding grassroots organisation, see note
51 above.
63. Interview with project ocer, see note 45 above.
64. Conversation with Kosovo Serb resident, 5 December 2017.
65. Interview with civil servant in the Department of Local Communities and Returns,
Municipality of Mitrovica North, 23 November 2017, Mitrovica.
66. OSCE, An Assessment of the Voluntary Returns,6 (reference to UNHCR).
67. OSCE, An Assessment of the Voluntary Returns,18; and Interview with civil servant in the
Department of Local Communities and Returns, Municipality of Mitrovica North, see note 65
above.
68. ICG, Serb Integration in Kosovo,2425; OSCE, Kosovo Communities Prole,12.
69. UNMIK, Report of the Secretary-General,34; and OSCE, An Assessment of the Voluntary
Returns,1718.
70. Interview with Kosovo Serb representative of the Youth Educational Club Sinergija, see note
57 above.
71. Oce of the Prime Minister, Implementation of the Agreement on the Removal of the
Barrier.
72. Oce of the Prime Minister, Brussels Agreements Implementation,1112.
73. Vucic, Statement by H.E. Mr. Aleksandar Vucic,67.
74. Sunčana Dolina (Sunny Valley) is a residential area under construction in the Kosovo Serb
majority municipality of Zvecan. It is a project initiated by Serbia intended for some 1,500
people that were displaced from Kosovo to central Serbia (Oce for Kosovo and Metohija,
Predstavlјen projekat izgradnje povratničkog naselјaSunčana dolina).
75. Interview with Kosovo Serb public policy NGO activist, see note 29 above.
76. UNMIK, Report of the Secretary-General.
77. Balkans, Sukob u Mitrovici.
THIRD WORLD THEMATICS: A TWQ JOURNAL 17
78. MCR, Annual Bulletin.
79. Interview with Kosovo Serb project ocer at peacebuilding grassroots organisation, see note
51 above.
80. Interview with Kosovo Albanian Municipal Assembly Candidate to the Municipality of
Mitrovica North, representing the political party Vetëvendosje, 5 December 2017, Mitrovica.
81. Interview with Kosovo Albanian Municipal Assembly candidate, see note 80 above.
82. Mijačić,Jakovljevic, and Vlaskovic, Municipal Administrations in North Kosovo,14.
83. See note 42 above.
84. Map of Suhodoll/Suvi Do area. Addendum to the Comprehensive Proposal for the Kosovo
Status Settlement (2007). The matter was supposed to have been solved in October 2015
through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on issues related to spatial plan-
ning documents, such as the Municipal Development Plans and zoning maps (EEAS, WG
Freedom of Movement/Bridge Conclusions); and Interview Project ocer at peacebuilding
grassroots organisation, see note 49 above.
85. Oce of the Prime Minister, Brussels Agreements Implementation, 17.
86. Oce for Kosovo and Metohija, Progress Report,1920.
87. Interview with Kosovo Serb project ocer at peacebuilding grassroots organisation, see note
51 above.
88. Interview with Municipal Assembly member, see note 38 above.
89. Oce for Kosovo and Metohija, Progress Report,2728.
90. According to the Kosovo Law on Self Government (Law No. 03/L-040 2008), non-majority
communities comprising at least 10 per cent of a municipalitys total population, should have
a non-majority community representative as the Deputy Chair of the Municipal Assembly.
The number of assembly members is based on the population size of the municipality: the
Municipality of Mitrovica North has 19 municipal assembly members while the Municipality
of Mitrovica South has 35 seats.
91. Interview with Kosovo Albanian civil society activist, 19 December 2017; and Interview with
Kosovo Serb representative of the Youth Educational Club Sinergija, see note 57 above.
92. Authorsobservation.
93. Authorsobservation; OSCE, Municipality Prole Mitrovica North; and Interview with Kosovo
Albanian community representative and former head of the Suhodoll/Suvi Do neighbour-
hood council of the Municipality of Mitrovica South, 10 November 2917, Mitrovica.
94. KoSSev, Suvi Do.
95. Authorsobservation 2017.
96. Interview with Kosovo Serb project ocer at peacebuilding grassroots organisation, see note
51 above.
97. Interview with Kosovo Albanian Suhodoll/Suvi Do Community representative, see note 93
above.
98. Interview with Kosovo Albanian civil society activist, see note 91 above; Interview with
Kosovo Serb project ocer at peacebuilding grassroots organisation, see note 51 above;
and Interview with Kosovo Bosniak Municipal Assembly candidate, see note 46 above.
99. See above 46 above.
100. Interview with Kosovo Serb member of student council, see note 43 above.
101. Calame and Charlesworth, Divided Cities, 213217.
Funding
This work was supported by a MFS stipend granted by the Swedish International Development
Cooperation Agency and the Swedish Research Council project number [2013-6334]. It also forms
part of the Varieties of Peace research program, which is generously nanced by The Swedish
Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences, Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, project number [M16-
0297:1].
18 A. JARSTAD AND S. SEGALL
Notes on contributors
Anna Jarstad is Professor of Peace and Conict Studies at the Department of Political Science, Umeå
University and Professor at the Department of Government, Uppsala University (ORCID ID 0000-
0001-8048-1868). Jarstad leads the Varieties of Peace research program (varietiesofpeace.net)
funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, Sweden, and a project on the interactions between inter-
national and local democracy initiatives funded by Swedish Research Council. Her research focuses
on the nexus of democratisation and peacebuilding. Email: anna.jarstad@statsvet.uu.se
Sandra Segall is a Bilateral Associate Expert in Gender and Peacebuilding based in Bogotá,
Colombia. She holds a Master of Science degree in Peace and Conict Studies from Umeå
University and has a bachelors degree in the same eld. Previously, Sandra has worked in womens
rights and communications in Chile and New Zealand. In 2017 she was a graduate intern in Kosovo
focusing on urban peacebuilding and was awarded the Olof Palme Memorial Fund Scholarship.
Email: sandra.segall@live.se
Bibliography
ADRC . Beyond the Bridge: The Symbolism, Freedom of Movement and Safety. Mitrovica, Kosovo:
Alternative Dispute Resolution Center, 2017.
Balkans, A. 2015. Video: Sukob u Mitrovici.March 20. Accessed January 20, 2018. https://www.
youtube.com/watch?v=kVU8SxL6Fug&t=30s
Björkdahl, A., and I. Gusic. The Divided City: A Space for Frictional Peacebuilding.Peacebuilding 1,
no. 3 (2013): 317333. doi:10.1080/21647259.2013.813172.
Björkdahl, A., and S. Kappler. Peacebuilding and Spatial Transformation: Peace, Space and Place. New
York: Routledge, 2017. doi:10.4324/9781315684529.
Boyle, M. J. Revenge and Reprisal Violence in Kosovo.Conict, Security and Development10, no. 2
(2010): 189216. doi:10.1080/14678801003665968.
Calame, J., and E. Charlesworth. Divided Cities: Belfast, Beirut, Jerusalem, Mostar, and Nicosia.
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011. doi:10.9783/9780812206852.
Davenport, C., E. Melander, and P. M. Regan. The Peace Continuum: What It Is and How to Study It.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. doi:10.1093/oso/9780190680121.001.0001.
EEAS. European External Action Service. 2015.WG Freedom of Movement/Bridge Conclusions.
August 25 /2. http://fer.org.rs/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/WG-Freedom-of-Movement-Bridge-
Conclusions-25-Aug-2015.pdf
ESI. European Stability Initiative. 2003. Mitrovica Past and Future.video. https://www.youtube.
youtubecom/watch?v=eGn33dmfhYc.
ESI. European Stability Initiative. 2004. People or Territory?: A Proposal for Mitrovica.Accessed
January 3, 2018. http://www.esiweb.org/pdf/esi_document_id_50.pdf
Firchow, P., and R. M. Ginty. Measuring Peace: Comparability, Commensurability, and
Complementarity Using Bottom-Up Indicators.International Studies Review 19, no. 1 (2017): 6
27. doi:10.1093/isr/vix001.
Gleditsch, N. P., J. Nordkvelle, and H. Strand. Peace Research: Just the Study of War?Journal of
Peace Research 51, no. 2 (2014): 145158. doi:10.1177/0022343313514074.
Glenny, M. The Balkans: Nationalism, War, and the Great Powers, 1804-1999. New York: Penguin
Books, 1999.
Gusic, I. Contesting Peace in the Postwar City. Belfast: Palgrave, 2019.
Höglund, K., and M. S. Kovacs. Beyond the Absence of War: The Diversity of Peace in Post-
Settlement Societies.Review of International Studies 36, no. 2 (2010): 367390. doi:10.1017/
S0260210510000069.
HRW. 2004. Human Rights Watch.Failure to Protect: Anti-Minority Violence in Kosovo, March.
https://www.hrw.org/report/2004/07/25/failure-protect/anti-minority-violence-kosovo-march-
2004#_ftn11
THIRD WORLD THEMATICS: A TWQ JOURNAL 19
ICG. International Crisis Group. 2005. Bridging Kosovos Mitrovica Divide.Accessed January 1,
2018. https://www.crisisgroup.org/europe-central-asia/balkans/kosovo/bridging-kosovos-mitro
vica-divide.
ICG. International Crisis Group. 2009. Serb Integration in Kosovo: Taking the Plunge.Accessed
January 30, 2018. http://old.crisisgroup.org/_/media/Files/europe/200_serb_integration_in_
kosovo___taking_the_plunge.pdf
Jarstad, A. To Share or to Divide? Negotiating the Future of Kosovo.Civil Wars 9, no. 3 (2007): 227
242. doi:10.1080/13698240701478937.
Jovic, N. A Survey of Ethnic Distance in Kosovo.In Perspectives of a Multiethnic Society in Kosovo,
edited by J. Teokarević, B. Baliqi, and S. Surlić. Belgrade: Youth Initiative for Human Rights, 2015:
261270.
Judah, T. Kosovo: War and Revenge. New Haven: Yale Nota Bene, 2002.
KIPRED. Kosovar Institute for Policy Research and Development. 2012. Grass-Root Approaches to
Inter-Ethnic Reconciliation in the Northern Part of Kosovo.Accessed February 8, 2019. http://
www.kipred.org/repository/docs/grass-root_approaches_to_inter-ethnic_reconciliation_in_the_
northern_part_of_kosovo_628494.pdf
Kosovo Law on Self Government. Law No. 03/L-040 2008.Kosovo Ocial Gazette.https://gzk.rks-
gov.net/ActDetail.aspx?ActID=2530.
KoSSev, Kosovo Sever Portal 2017. Suvi Do: Table na albanskom postavila Južna Mitrovica. Rakić:
Ovakve poteze nećemo tolerisati.March 1. Accessed November 22, 2017. https://kossev.info/?s=
Suvi+Do%3A+Table+na+albanskom+postavila+Ju%C5%BEna+Mitrovica.+Raki%C4%87%3A
+Ovakve+poteze+ne%C4%87emo+tolerisati
Lemay-Hébert, N. Multiethnicité Ou Ghettoïsation?: Statebuilding International Et Partition Du
Kosovo À lAune Du Projet Controverse De Mur À Mitrovica.Études Internationales 43, no. 1
(2012): 2747. doi:10.7202/1009138ar.
Leonardsson, H., and G. Rudd. The Local Turnin Peacebuilding: A Literature Review of Eective
and Emancipatory Local Peacebuilding.Third World Quarterly 36, no. 5 (2015): 825839.
doi:10.1080/01436597.2015.1029905.
Mac Ginty, R. Everyday Peace: Bottom-Up and Local Agency in Conict-Aected Societies.Security
Dialogue 45, no. 6 (2014): 548564. doi:10.1177/0967010614550899.
Malcolm, N. Kosovo: A Short History, 2002. London and Oxford: Pan Macmillan, 1998.
Map of Suhodoll/Suvi Do area. Addendum to the Comprehensive Proposal for the Kosovo Status
Settlement. Digital Copy Retrieved from the Map Collection at the Dag Hammarskjöld Library. New
York: United Nations, 2007.
McConnell, F., N. Megoran, and P. Williams. Introduction: Geographical Approaches to Peace.In
The Geographies of Peace: New Approaches to Boundaries, Diplomacy and Conict Resolution,
edited by F. McConnell, N. Megoran, and P. Williams, 128. London: I. B. Tauris, 2014.
MCR. Kosovo Ministry of Communities and Returns. 2015. Annual Bulletin.Accessed February 1,
2018. http://mzp-rks.org/bilten/bilten_en.pdf
Mijačić, D., J. Jakovljevic, and V. Vlaskovic. Municipal Administrations in North Kosovo: A Two-Headed
Dragon in One Body. Mitrovica: Institute for Territorial Economic Development, 2017. http://www.
lokalnirazvoj.org/upload/Report/Document/2017_08/Municipal_administrations_in_North_
Kosovo.pdf.
ONeill, W. G. Kosovo: An Unnished Peace. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2002.
Oce for Kosovo and Metohija. Serbian Government. 2016a. Predstavlјen Projekat Izgradnje
Povratničkog NaselјaSunčana dolina.May 31. Accessed January 20, 2018. http://www.kim.
gov.rs/lat/v1419.php
Oce for Kosovo and Metohija. Serbian Government. Progress Report on the Dialogue between
Belgrade and Pristina.April 2016b. Accessed November 11, 2017. http://www.kim.gov.rs/doc/
pregovaracki-proces/2.1%20Izvestaj%20okt-mart%202016%20EN.pdf.
Oce of the Prime Minister, Kosovo Government. Brussels Agreements Implementation State of
Play.November 25 2015. Accessed January 23, 2018. http://www.kryeministri-ks.net/?page=
2,252.2015b
20 A. JARSTAD AND S. SEGALL
Oce of the Prime Minister, Kosovo Government. 2015a. Implementation of the Agreement on the
Removal of the Barrier from the Bridge of Mitrovica.October 19. Accessed December 20, 2017.
http://www.kryeministri-ks.net/?page=2,9,5302
Ombudsman, K. 2016. Annual Report 2015.http://www.ombudspersonkosovo.org/repository/docs/
English_Annual_Report_2015_351292.pdf
OSCE. Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. 2010. Kosovo Communities Prole.
Accessed November 10, 2017a. https://www.osce.org/kosovo/75450?download=true
OSCE. Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. 2015. Municipality Prole of Mitrovicë/
Mitrovica South.Accessed November 12, 2017b. https://www.osce.org/kosovo/122118?down
load=true
OSCE. Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. 2015. Municipality Prole Mitrovicë/
Mitrovica North.Accessed November 12, 2017c. https://www.osce.org/kosovo/122119?down
load=true
OSCE. Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. 2018. Municipality Prole 2018
Mitrovicë/Mitrovica North.Accessed February 7, 2019. https://www.osce.org/mission-in-
kosovo/122119?download=true
OSCE. Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. 2010. Skills for the Future,
Understanding for the Present: OSCE Project Gives Kosovo Youth Brighter Outlook, October 26.
https://www.osce.org/kosovo/74243
OSCE. Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. 2014. An Assessment of the Voluntary
Returns Process in Kosovo.Accessed January 10, 2018. https://www.osce.org/kosovo/129321?
download=true
Pinos, J. C. Mitrovica: A City (Re)shaped by Division.In Politics of Identity in Post-Conict States: The
Bosnian and Irish Experience, edited by É. Ó. Ciardha and G. Vojvoda, 128142. London: Routledge,
2016.
Pullan, W., and B. Baillie. Locating Urban Conicts: Ethnicity, Nationalism and the Everyday.
Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
Roberts, D. Saving Liberal Peacebuilding From Itself.Peace Review 24, no. 3 (2012): 366373.
doi:10.1080/10402659.2012.704328.
Schwartze, F. Symbols of Reconstruction, Signs of Divisions: The Case of Mitrovica, Kosovo.In The
Heritage of War,edited by M. Gegner and B. Ziino. Routledge: Oxon and New York, 2011.
Simonsen, S. G. Addressing Ethnic Divisions in Post-Conict Institution-Building: Lessons from
Recent Cases.Security Dialogue 36, no. 3 (2005): 297318. doi:10.1177/0967010605057017.
Söderström, J., M. Åkebo, and A. Jarstad. 2019. Friends, Fellows and Foes: A New Framework for
Studying Relational Peace. Umeå Working Papers in Peace and Conict Studies, no. 11, ISSN 1654-
2398 ISBN 978-91-7855-054-8.
UNHCR. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 2003. Fresh start for mixed community in
Kosovo.Accessed February 7, 2019. https://www.unhcr.org/news/latest/2003/5/3eba82774/fea
ture-fresh-start-mixed-community-kosovo.html
UNMIK. United Nations Mission in Kosovo. 2015. Report of the Secretary-General on the United
Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNSC S/2015/579).July 30. Accessed
February 14, 2018. http://www.refworld.org/pdd/55cb3b2e4.pdf
UNMIK. United Nations Mission in Kosovo. 2013. Report of the Secretary-General on the United
Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNSC S//2013/72).February 4. Accessed
February 14, 2018. https://unmik.unmissions.org/sites/default/les/old_dnn/N1321969.pdf
Visoka, G., and A. Beha. 2013. Clearing up the Fog of the Conict.Kosovo Foundation for Open
Society.http://kfos.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/clearing-up-the-fog-of-conict-ENG.pdf
Vucic, A. Statement by H.E. Mr. Aleksandar Vucic, Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia. United
Nations Security Council/Republic of Serbia, United Nations, 2014.
Williams, P. Everyday Peace? Politics, Citizenship and Muslim Lives in India. Oxford: John Wiley & Sons,
2015.
THIRD WORLD THEMATICS: A TWQ JOURNAL 21
... Civil society creates convivial networks and public spheres of debate (Jarstad and Segall, 2019: 248;Pavlović, 2015). Mixed apartment blocks and neighbourhoods in the northern, Serb-dominated part of the city circumvent the overwhelming logic of ethnic segregation (Jarstad and Segall, 2019). 1 In line with arguments made by critical studies of conviviality, these transgressive practices and sites should not be taken at face value, as disruptions of fixed ethnopolitical communities. As long as sites and practices of conviviality remain socially meaningful as transgressions, they are a functional component of the ethnically divided city. ...
... The latter manifests itself in fear of changing demographic balance through (re)settlement policies, conflicts over municipal boundaries or physical and symbolic violence. These manifestations of conflict, however, do not prevent communication, cooperation over shared concerns or the sharing of space and freedom of movement across ethnic boundaries (Jarstad and Segall, 2019). ...
... In a study by Jarstad and Segall, one person described how she and her friend always accompany each other to the main bridge in Mitrovica after dark as they live on opposite sides of the Ibar River. Because of the common violent incidents around the bridge, their safety zones shift at the bridgeheads (Jarstad and Segall 2019). This act of caring and friendship is an example of a story seldom told about Mitrovica, because it is in the interest of the conflict parties to maintain the image of complete separation of the ethnic groups. ...
... At the same time, however, there are also strands of relational peace among the residents in northern Mitrovica. Despite fear of violence, relational everyday peace is manifested by meetings and compromises, cooperation on practical issues, shared spaces in shopping areas and work places, and acceptance of the other group's identity markers such as flags (Jarstad and Segall 2019). This kind of approach to a specific setting opens up doors for research questions, such as how actors at different analytical levels influence each other and also reveals how there may be differences within actors at the same level as well. ...
Article
Full-text available
In this article, we suggest that taking a relational view of peace seriously is a fruitful avenue for expanding current theoretical frameworks surrounding peace as a concept. Paving the way for such an approach, this article conducts a review of the literature that takes on peace as a relational concept. We then return to how a relationship is conceptualized, before turning to how such components would be further defined in order to specify relational peace. Based on this framework, we argue that a peaceful relationship entails deliberation, non-domination, and cooperation between the actors in the dyad; the actors involved recognize and trust each other and believe that the relationship is either one between legitimate fellows or one between friends. The article clarifies the methodological implications of studying peace in this manner. It also demonstrates some of the advantages of this approach, as it shows how peace and war can coexist in webs of multiple interactions, and the importance of studying relations, and how actors understand these relationships, as a way of studying varieties of peace.
... This can be the case in places where the original conflict issues related to territory is not solved. For example, negotiations are taking place between Serbia and Kosovo on a land swap which would result in an international border dividing the city of Mitrovica between the two states (Jarstad and Segall 2019). In such situations, urban planning plays an important role in providing joint political forums where people can interact locally across ethnic divides. ...
Article
Full-text available
In this article, we revisit the ‘local turn’ debate in the peacebuilding literature, and explore its most recent and promising approach to ‘the local’, focussing on post-war cities and on urban dimensions of peacebuilding. There is still substantive contestation and frustration in the peacebuilding research field with regards to the conceptual fuzziness of ‘the local’, and with the continual failures of international interventions to actually take into account local perspectives, promote local agency and establish local ownership. In this article, we explore to what extent recent urban approaches to peacebuilding can help alleviate some of the conceptual problems that has persisted in the literature. We reflect on and raise questions about what a focus on cities and urban perspectives is contributing to the study of local peacebuilding more specifically. We suggest three facets of analytical added value: (1) an increased understanding of how the particularities of urban and rural space affects peacebuilding locally and potentially beyond; (2) how cities and urban space are interrelated with traditional territoriality; and (3) the methodological benefits of the city/urban as (local) analytical entry point. We also discuss potential pitfalls and limitations of urban approaches to peacebuilding, and identify prospective pathways for further research.
... In line with this view, have proposed three different avenues for theorising and studying peace: as a feature of the conditions in a particular area or location, as a feature of relationships between conflict actors and groups (see also Söderström et al., 2020), and as political ideals, aspirations, or visions of the good society. Empirical applications demonstrate how these approaches each offer promising venues for sharper, more precise analyses of the nature of peace (see, e.g., Jarstad & Segall, 2019;Olivius & Hedström, 2021). ...
Article
Full-text available
Scholarly debates about how we conceptualise, theorise and measure peace have recently intensified, yet exactly how peace scholars translate these theoretical innovations into concrete methodological tools and practices is less clear. We argue that pluralism, temporality and the role of affect are three recent focal points in current scholarly debates that aim to further our conceptual understanding of peace. Taking these theoretical developments seriously requires us to consider our methodological tools to approach each one, but these concepts also point to methodological issues on their own. This special issue aims to investigate our assumptions about peace, and how these in turn shape the way we approach the study of peace, in terms of both research design and data collection as well as in the process of writing up and disseminating findings, all departing from these three specific challenges. As such, this special issue contributes to efforts of making peace beyond the absence of war more researchable.
Article
Full-text available
The world is urbanising rapidly and cities are increasingly held as the most important arenas for sustainable development. Cities emerging from war are no exception, but across the globe, many post-war cities are ravaged by residual or renewed violence, which threatens progress towards peace and stability. This collection of articles addresses why such violence happens, where and how it manifests, and how it can be prevented. It includes contributions that are informed by both post-war logics and urban particularities, that take intra-city dynamics into account, and that adopt a spatial analysis of the city. By bringing together contributions from different disciplinary backgrounds, all addressing the single issue of post-war violence in cities from a spatial perspective, the articles make a threefold contribution to the research agenda on violence in post-war cities. First, the articles nuance our understanding of the causes and forms of the uneven spatial distribution of violence, insecurities, and trauma within and across post-war cities. Second, the articles demonstrate how urban planning and the built environment shape and generate different forms of violence in post-war cities. Third, the articles explore the challenges, opportunities, and potential unintended consequences of conflict resolution in violent urban settings.
Article
Full-text available
In this article, we suggest that taking a relational view of peace seriously is a fruitful avenue for expanding current theoretical frameworks surrounding peace as a concept. Paving the way for such an approach, this article conducts a review of the literature that takes on peace as a relational concept. We then return to how a relationship is conceptualized, before turning to how such components would be further defined in order to specify relational peace. Based on this framework, we argue that a peaceful relationship entails deliberation, non-domination, and cooperation between the actors in the dyad; the actors involved recognize and trust each other and believe that the relationship is either one between legitimate fellows or one between friends. The article clarifies the methodological implications of studying peace in this manner. It also demonstrates some of the advantages of this approach, as it shows how peace and war can coexist in webs of multiple interactions, and the importance of studying relations, and how actors understand these relationships, as a way of studying varieties of peace.
Book
The idea of studying peace-rather than studying war, genocide, and political violence and then inferring about peace-has gained considerable traction in the past few years, after languishing in the shadows of conflict studies for decades. But how should peace be studied? The book offers a parallax view of how we think about peace and the complexities that surround the concept-that is, the book explores the topic from different positions at the same time. Toward this end, the authors review existing literature and provide insights into how peace should be conceptualized-particularly as something more than the absence of conflict. They provide an approach that can help scholars overcome what the authors see as the initial shock of unpacking the “zero” in the war-peace model of conflict studies. Additionally, they provide a framework for understanding how peace and conflict have and have not been related to one another in the literature. Finally, they put forward three alternative ways that peace can be studied, thereby avoiding any attempt to control the emerging peace research agenda and, rather, assisting in and encouraging thinking about a topic we all have some opinions on but that has yet to be measured and analyzed in a way comparable to that of political conflict and violence.
Book
This book investigates peacebuilding in post-conflict scenarios by analysing the link between peace, space and place. By focusing on the case studies of Cyprus, Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Ireland and South Africa, the book provides a spatial reading of agency in peacebuilding contexts. It conceptualises peacebuilding agency in post-conflict landscapes as situated between place (material locality) and space (the imaginary counterpart of place), analysing the ways in which peacebuilding agency can be read as a spatial practice. Investigating a number of post-conflict cases, this book outlines infrastructures of power and agency as they are manifested in spatial practice. It demonstrates how spatial agency can take the form of conflict and exclusion on the one hand, but also of transformation towards peace over time on the other hand. Against this background, the book argues that agency drives place-making and space-making processes. Therefore, transformative processes in post-conflict societies can be understood as materialising through the active use and transformation of space and place. This book will be of interest to students of peacebuilding, peace and conflict studies, human geography and IR in general.
Article
This article examines the possibilities of interaction and collaboration between top-down and bottom-up indicators of peace. It is based on the Everyday Peace Indicators project an experimental research project that operated in local communities in four sub-Saharan countries. The article begins by making the case for bottom-up approaches to the study of peace, conflict and security. It goes on to scope out the opportunities and obstacles for comparison between bottom-up and top-down indicator systems and looks at three issues: comparability, commensurability and complementarity. It draws on four well-know measurements of peace, conflict and development: the Human Development Index (HDI), the Global Peace Index, the Uppsala Conflict Data Program's Georeferenced Event Data (UCDP GED), and the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Program (ACLED). We argue for a plurality of vantage points from which to measure peace and conflict.
Article
Plus de vingt ans après la chute historique du mur de Berlin, plusieurs villes demeurent divisées par des murs et des barrières qui imposent une division spatiale et, bien souvent, politique du territoire. Cette contribution entend revenir sur la question de la partition de la ville de Mitrovica au Kosovo depuis l’intervention de l’ otan en 1999, partition emblématique d’une partition plus large du territoire en deux entités distinctes. Le projet de mur proposé par l’ otan à Mitrovica en 2001 reprend tout le paradoxe de la présence internationale sur le territoire : la politique internationale dite de la promotion d’une multiethnicité kosovare s’est révélée être en fait une politique de ghettoïsation progressive des diverses communautés, renforçant le repli identitaire qu’elle était censée combattre.
Book
BACK COVER Providing important insights into political geography, the politics of peace, and South Asian studies, this book explores everyday peace in north India as it is experienced by Muslims living and working alongside Hindus. Based on over 14 months of qualitative and archival research in the regional city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, it looks specifically at the everyday experiences and perspectives of the Muslim community to see how peace is socially and spatially produced. The author challenges normative understandings of Hindu–Muslim relations as relentlessly violent and instead demonstrates the ways in which Muslims are orientated towards securing and maintaining peace within India s secular state. In doing so, she dispels the notion of peace as a romantic endpoint occurring only after violence and political maneuverings. The author also examines the ways in which geographical concepts such as space, place, and scale can inform and problematize understandings of peace. She applies a critical eye to understanding how practices of peace and non–violence are themselves inherently political, and play out through different spatial and material geographies. Filled with examples and case studies from the individual to the national level, this study uses the lens of geography to redefine the politics of peace and concepts of citizenship, agency, secular politics, and democracy.