Social Transformation and the Memory in a Postwar Society- the Case of Kosovo

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 4:15 PM
Room: 419
Oral Presentation
Shemsi KRASNIQI , University of Pristina, Pristina, Kosovo
Gezim SELACI , Department of Sociology, University of Pristina, Pristina, Kosovo
This paper is based on two qualitative research projects conducted ten years after Kosovo exodus, and the dramatic changes related to the war, social organization, environment, daily life, and value system. The first one is “Memory vs. Forgetting” (2009), and the second one is “Socio-cultural Changes in Postwar Kosovo” (2010). Both projects are conducted by the Department of Sociology in the University of Prishtina. The data show very interesting aspects of collective memory and human experiences during the dramatic events and the general social transformations. The way how people remember the past, how do they perceive the present, and what they are expecting from the future is important not only for Kosovo society, but for the entire humanity.

 The focus of our research is the period after 1999. This period is important in two senses. First, in terms of social change, this period is important because three international missions were deployed in Kosovo and the country has declared its independence since. Second, from the aspect of social organization, it is the period of creation of the self-administered institutions, and the development of the overall transition. The structural changes affected the culture, and the system of values in Kosovo society to a great extent. This period is of a particular importance, because it signifies great changes in lifestyle, the transformation of values and mentality, and the behavior patterns and practices.

 Research in the field of collective memory and social transformations requires very precise methodological approach. Each of the research projects has included 50 in depth-interviews, and visual elements collected in the field, such as pictures and video materials. The data show that people’s relationship are very strong not only to the family and the homeland, but also to physical objects, tools, pictures,  books, souvenirs, symbolic values, plants, animals and the environment.