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"in no man's land". The im/mobility of local NGO workers

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare Signe Borch
Publicerad i Im/mobilities: Products and generators of conflict. PACSA biannual conference, Frankfurt am Main. 2-4 September 2015
Publiceringsår 2015
Publicerad vid Institutionen för globala studier
Språk en
Ämnesord Mobility, conflict, moral, ethnicity, nationalism, peace building, ethnopolitical space, Kosovo
Ämneskategorier Annan samhällsvetenskap


Abstract PACSA, Frankfurt, September 2015 In ‘No Man’s Land’; The Im/mobility of local NGO workers in a divided city While the technical dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade proceed, inter-ethnic tensions in the city of Mitrovica in north Kosovo continue to instil uncertainty and insecurity among its inhabitants. Departing from ethnographic fieldwork in Mitrovica, Kosovo on local understandings of danger and security in relation to place and gender, this paper explores the im/mobilities for everyday life NGO work poses for local Serbs working in inter-ethnic NGOs in the northern, Serbian controlled part of Mitrovica, as they identify and navigate terrains of uncertainty, both physically and socially. Since the outset of war in 1999 Serbs in Kosovo have experienced a fundamental change of state, institutional, and structural frameworks for everyday life, while the civil society sector, locally a rather new sector, have come to play an increasingly larger role in post-conflict peacebuilding and reconciliation initiatives in Kosovo, as in the Balkans in general. The paper identifies two interrelated dynamics essential to understanding the impact on NGO workers of reconciliation work: One is between national identity and ethno-political space in the context of the specific community; the other, between the local moral order of being ‘good Serbs’ and internationally formulated aims to engage the locals in peace and reconciliation work. The paper argues that the focus of international peacebuilding missions on inter-ethnic cooperation and policy influencing activities, at least for Serb NGO workers in Mitrovica, creates immobility on grounds of local notions of morality and security that translates into project activities of the NGOs. A conclusion is that NGO workers’ role and effectiveness in peacebuilding activities are related to the ways in which the local politics of moral and security are played out in an ethnically polarized setting.

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