Who Are Kosovars? Multifaceted Positioning of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Kosovo in Serbia

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 6:54 PM
Room: F201
Oral Presentation
Marija GRUJIC , Sociology, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany
In my paper I discuss the politics of belonging and multifaceted positioning of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Kosovo in Serbia and the racialized images of a “Kosovar”, as a part of the IDP from Kosovo group, in the Serbian society. Internal displacement in Serbia is not only a political category but as well social – differentiated on the basis of ethnicity, gender, class and housing arrangements.  I am drawing on the biographical interviews and participant observation conducted in Serbia in 2012, and a further data analysis of my ongoing doctoral research on the intersectionality of national, gender and religious identities in the contemporary Serbia.

My argument is that the notion of a “Kosovar” carries a negative imaging and ambivalent notions of belonging to the national imaginary of the Serbianess and the Serbian community as the “other kind of Serb”. In addition, the political community of belonging for the Kosovo Serbs is the Serbian community, but in the politics of belonging of the Kosovo Serbs living as IDPs in Serbia are visible significant referential and differential points as localities of belonging – in terms of language, region and ethnicity. Although, in the studies on social exclusion and boundary-making this could be described as a “classical” examples of the tensions between the “newcomers” and “locals” , or “established” and “outsiders” leading to different aspects of Othering and marginalization, in the case of the Kosovo Serbs (IDPs ethnic majority) it is paradoxical. Namely, Kosovo-Serbia displacement/emplacement politics of belonging shows a significant gap in relation to the dominant (right wing) nationalist discourses on Serbianess and Serbianhood – describing Kosovo as the most important topoi of the Serbian national history, and Kosovo Serbs portrayed in as a “Serbian martyrs” while Kosovo is a Serbian Jerusalem.