Contemporary Southeastern Europe
Unstructured Daily Encounters: Serbs in Kosovo after the 2008 Declaration of Independence
This text focuses on Serb-Albanian relations in Kosovo in the aftermath of the February 2008 declaration of independence. It examines encounters between Serbs and Albanians taking place in the capital Prishtina. My analysis centers on those encounters from the point of view of Serbs from Kosovo, mostly those living south of the Ibar River in the area of the municipality of Gračanica, who work in the capital, commute daily into the city, and thus partake in the public and social life there. Such interactions are scarce, as Serb communities in Kosovo are mostly segregated and disconnected from the newborn state. Yet, they do take place on a small scale. I analyze daily encounters by looking at the imaginary and existing boundaries people have to cross if they choose participation over isolation. The text aims to uncover such practices, which may point to possible models for change of inter-group relations, as well as contribute to the discussions about conflict transformation in Kosovo.