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In ‘no man’s land’: the im/mobility of Serb NGO workers in Kosovo

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Signe Borch
Publicerad i Social Identities
Volym 23
Nummer/häfte 4
Sidor 478-492
ISSN 1350-4630
Publiceringsår 2017
Publicerad vid Institutionen för globala studier, socialantropologi
Sidor 478-492
Språk en
Länkar dx.doi.org/10.1080/13504630.2017.12...
Ämnesord NGOs, peacebuilding, mobility, ethno-political space, inter-ethnic cooperation, identity-politics, Kosovo
Ämneskategorier Etnografi, Arbetslivsstudier, Kulturstudier


While the technical dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade proceeds, inter-ethnic tensions in the city of Mitrovica in north Kosovo continue to instil uncertainty and insecurity among its inhabitants. This article delves into the im/mobilities for NGO work that the ethnic and conflict related division of the town poses for local Serb NGO workers. The division of the city into a Serbian north and a Kosovo Albanian south, with separate political systems and influence from the international peacebuilding mission, poses obstacles for inter-ethnic cooperation between north and south NGOs. The article explores the ways in which Serb NGO workers navigate these obstacles in order to create physical, social and economic mobility for themselves. It identifies two interrelated dynamics essential to understanding the impact on NGO workers of the conflict reality: 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, impedes the mobility of local NGOs.

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