Community Building in Post-Conflict Mitrovica, Kosovo : To What Extent is the Political Context Decisive?

dc.contributor.advisorVerkoren, W.M.
dc.contributor.advisorBomert, H.W.
dc.contributor.authorGeerdink, Tobias
dc.description.abstractIn 50 percent of the countries affected by violent conflict, violence reoccurred in the first decade of the post-conflict period. This indicates the need for sustainable peacebuilding to prevent conflict from reoccurring. In many cases, community building is a part of the peacebuilding process. Community building aims to restore the non-physical aspects of trust, hope, identities, and social ties. These are addressed through the perceptions and behaviours, intergroup relations, and social structures of post-conflict communities. The initiation and implementation, as well as the results, are very diverse. There are many different aspects influencing the community building process, and this thesis focuses on the role of the post-conflict political context with respect to community building. The following research question has been leading: To what extent does the political context determine post-conflict community building? A post-conflict political context is created by the construction of domestic power sharing and governance. In cases of external intervention, the construction is part of a democratic state building process. The origin of bottom-up approach to community building is part of the critique against topdown approaches that partly create the political context. Community building intends to overcome the community contradictions that caused conflict. The concept of community building has often been criticised, and there are doubts as to the feasibility of activities supposed to (re)unite (former) conflicting communities. For the purpose of this thesis a case study has been undertaken in Mitrovica, Kosovo. The case study has been the basis for answering the following research question: How are successes and failures of activities initiated and implemented by Community Building Mitrovica, influenced through the different political contexts in North and South Mitrovica? The post-conflict situation in Mitrovica is characterised by a clear division between the North and the South. In the South there lives an Albanian majority and in the North a Serbian minority. There is a distinction between the political context in the South and North. The political context in the South is characterised by a fairly successful democratisation process. Whilst in the North, the political context is characterised by the refusal of the (parallel) northern municipality to recognise Kosovo’s independency. In this context the NGO Community Building Mitrovica (CBM) aims to implement projects that contribute to a multi-ethnic society in Mitrovica. CBM initiates and implements community building activities parallel in North and South Mitrovica, but the results and willingness to participate are significantly better in the South than in the North. This thesis shows how the political context influences these results. The current political context in North Mitrovica created an atmosphere in which any kind of external influence is undesirable. The attempt of external organisations to ‘interfere’ in North Mitrovica, is interpreted by the Serbian community as an effort to increase control over the Northern part of Mitrovica by the governing body in Pristina, and thereby a threat for their self-competence.en_US
dc.thesis.facultyFaculteit der Managementwetenschappenen_US
dc.thesis.specialisationConflicts, Territories and Identitiesen_US
dc.thesis.studyprogrammeMaster Human Geographyen_US
dc.titleCommunity Building in Post-Conflict Mitrovica, Kosovo : To What Extent is the Political Context Decisive?en_US
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