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Cultural Heritage and the Promotion of Peace: Cultural Heritage without Borders in Kosovo, 2001–2011
Gotland University, School of Culture, Energy and Environment. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Art History, Conservation.
2016 (English)In: ACHS 2016 - What does heritage change?: Association of Critical Heritage Studies. Third Biennial Conference, Montreal, Canada, 3-8 June, 2016., 2016Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Cultural Heritage and the Promotion of Peace: Cultural Heritage without Borders in Kosovo, 2001–2011 

Mattias Legnér

 

This paper will deal with approaches to cultural heritage used in the Balkans, specifically Kosovo, in the first decade of the 21st century. Built cultural heritage was at the centre of the Kosovo conflict of the 1990s, symbolising either Serbian or Albanian ethnicity. As they had become heavily politicised, Orthodox churches, mosques and historic dwellings became targets for attacks before, during and after the Kosovo War 1998-99. That the war ended did not mean that the destruction of buildings stopped. In 2004 violence broke out again and was aimed against the Serbian minority and its cultural heritage. Furthermore, there has been extensive demolition of historic buildings after the war due to unchecked urban development.

A theoretical point of departure is the idea that cultural heritage should be understood as a choice of perspective, rather than as a mass of buildings and objects existing regardless of users or observers. Depending on the perspective used cultural heritage perspectives may be used in the wake of armed conflict to make social and economic development possible, and to foster dialogue, human rights and democracy in communities plagued by violent conflict. General aims of using cultural heritage in post-conflict reconstruction have been to promote peaceful coexistence or reconciliation, economic improvements such as the creation of jobs through tourism or handicrafts, or democratic institutions and social equality.

An overall aim of the paper is to analyse the approaches to cultural heritage in post-conflict reconstruction by the Swedish non-governmental organization Cultural Heritage without Borders (CHwB) in the period 2001-11.

Cultural heritage remains ethnically defined in Kosovo, even if CHwB has worked to promote heritage as a "common value for all". What does this mean in practice and how was this approach practiced in the early 2000s? I argue that during the period in question there was a gradual shift in CHwB's aims from promoting a common Kosovar heritage by way of conserving buildings, to the use of cultural heritage for promoting local ownership and economic development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016.
Keyword [en]
Cultural heritage Identity Peace Peacebuilding Post-conflict reconstruction Kosovo Western Balkans Former Yugoslavia
National Category
Other Humanities not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Conservation (HGO)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-294846OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-294846DiVA: diva2:931441
Conference
ACHS 2016 - What does heritage change? Association of Critical Heritage Studies. Third Biennial Conference, Montreal, Canada, 3-8 June, 2016.
Available from: 2016-05-27 Created: 2016-05-27 Last updated: 2016-06-10

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