Academic event 2011

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The Conflict and its Aftermath in South Serbia – Social and Ethnic Relations, Agency and Belonging in Presevo and Bujanovac

Jana Baćević

‚ Faculty of Media and Communications & Central European University


The low-intensity conflict that erupted in 2001 between Albanian insurgents and Serb forces in Presevo and Bujanovac did not last for long, was quickly resolved and in international security discourse commonly treated as a ‘spillover’ from the conflicts in neighboring Kosovo and Macedonia. However, the region of Presevo and Bujanovac in the south of Serbia remains volatile, not only because of frequent unofficial mentioning of the possibility of its secession from Serbia and joining Kosovo, or being ‘traded’ for the north of Kosovo, but mostly because it is an ethnically mixed region with high poverty and unemployment, low education and history of conflict. The objective of the study commissioned by the UN in Serbia and carried out by the Center for Comparative Conflict Studies at the Faculty of Media and Communications, Singidunum University Belgrade, was to analyze the consequences of the conflict for the current situation in the region. Rather than focusing solely on security issues, the research team decided to offer a perspective on the conflict and its aftermath that would present the perceptions of those living and working in the region – Albanians, Roma and Serbs, but also representatives of local and international organizations involved in development and peacebuilding – on the life in the region, interethnic relations, agency and belonging etc. The results suggest a vision of the relations in the Presevo and Bujanovac that goes beyond the usual assumptions of conflict-triggered inter-ethnic divisions, bringing in social and cultural aspects, and having important implications for the international development efforts in the region and beyond.


About author:


Jana Baćević was born in 1981 in Belgrade, Serbia. She studied at University of Belgrade and University of Oxford, and since 2010 as visiting research fellow at the Central European University in Budapest. She is Associate professor at the Faculty of Media and Communications, Singidunum University Belgrade; Research Associate at the Center for Comparative Conflict Studies at FMK and at the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Belgrade. Jana Baćević participated as a researcher and policy advisor in a number of regional and international projects related to analyses of conflicts and post-conflict development in the Western Balkans. She specializes in the role of education in post-conflict societies and the relationship between education, identities and nation-building.