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2014, iss. 36, pp. 289-314
Albanians in the memories of Serbs in Northern Kosovska Mitrovica in the context of everyday life before the war 1999
Institute for Serbian Culture, Leposavić
Material and spiritual culture of Kosovo and Metohija (MESTD - 178028)

The author of this paper shows the results of research among Serbs in Northern Kosovska Mitrovica from the point of view of their memories on everyday life before the war 1999. The central attention was paid to the memories on the most important, and at the same time, contending others, that is, Albanians. The basic aim of the paper is to give contribution for the consideration of the role the mentioned memories in the post-war, radically altered ethnical and socio-political discourse have had in the self-identification of Serbs in Northern Kosovska Mitrovica; giving contribution to the conception of ethnographic material for the consideration of their recent everyday life being fulfilled almost fifteen years with refugee-related reality, security risks, economic passiveness, and uncertain tomorrow. From theoretical point of view, the author starts from the comprehension of memory as thoughtful image of the past inseparable from the experience of reality being happened now which is, in other words, interweaved by the needs of the present days, and hopes looking forward to the future. As such, memory is contemplated through the direction by social and cultural context, that is, through the belonging to collectivity which is modelling individual memories in accordance with identity-related discourses, value system, and symbols comprehension. The author is also relying on the socio-constructivist approach of the identity study, as per which identities are created inside the discourse as the result of some social frame, which means they are situation conditioned, changeable and subject to negotiating, rather than being a permanent category which people are possessing 'it themselves'. The research had been conducted with respondents through interviews which were of open type, and which were diffused toward the most different directions where pre-war everyday life were the most present. The attitudes of the respondents were in the focus of research so that the material at which the paper was based upon was of narrative character, from which the analysis was directed to the discourse under which was understood the form of social practice whose basic unit was the attitude, that is statement. The research had been conducted among elderly and middle age people of Serbs which were born in Kosovska Mitrovica or spent a large part of their life including the ones which emigrated there after the war from the wider area of Kosovo and Metohia Southern from the river of Ibar. In the aim of field research the author repeatedly stayed there from the middle of 2011 until the beginning of 2014 in the total duration of over six months. The research results indicate the fact that memories of Serbs in Northern Kosovska Mitrovica to Albanians in the context of pre-war everyday life interweaved by the discourse of post-war everyday life, where everyday life before the war 1999 is experienced through the belonging to our time, during which in Kosovo and Metohia the state of Yugoslavia was present, that is Serbia, differently from the everyday life after the war being described in the context of their time, where that area belongs to the protectorate of international community, and the preponderance in power distribution passes at Albanian side. Contrast between the two mentioned times in the discourse of Serbs in Northern Kosovska Mitrovica is expressed in the multiethnical character of everyday life before the war, as the opposition of the state after the war where the ethnical division of the town and open antagonism of Albanians occur manifested in numerous attempts to exterminate Serbs from the part of the town Northern of the river of Ibar. The main responsibility for such turning point is reproached to Albanian side for which it is alleged that it started showing intolerance toward Serbs and desire for separation many years before the war. The difference between everyday lives before and after the war is represented as discrepancy between the one Serbs has or does not have today, and the one Albanians had before the war. Albanians in the memories of respondents at everyday life during several decades until 1999 appear as equal citizens, whom Serbs regardless of different ethnical belonging accepted as neighbours, colleagues, acquaints, even friends. On the other hand, the position of Serbs after the war is experienced diametrally different. Their everyday life from the division of labour they connect with the sentiment of significant risk, uncertainty, tensions, and risk of the outbreak of interethnic conflicts, for which as the worst offenders are referred to Albanians. It is considered that the Albanians in our, Yugoslav time, lived much better than Serbs live today, in their, Serbian time. Contrary to their own position, which has been from the war onwards experienced through the exposition to many permanent pressures and largely denied rights, respondents have connected Albanians until the war with everyday life in which they were not being deteriorated by Serbian side. Relationships of Serbs in Northern Kosovska Mitrovica toward Albanians after 1999 are imbued with the sentiment of the experienced injustice. Such sentiment is interwoven in the self-identification of Serbs as the main victims of the war, inextricably connected with negative perception of Albanians as the main culprits for evil being inflicted to Serbs. Memories at Albanians in the context of everyday life before the war are the resource which has got an important role in the victimization of Serbs. Through the images on the other once, before the war, is shaped the image of yourself today, after the war. By memories to Albanians in pre-war everyday life in other words, is positioned the experience of yourself as the part lost a lot by the war, which Albanians had already had before the war in Yugoslavia and Serbia.


article language: Serbian
document type: unclassified
published in SCIndeks: 24/09/2015

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