Aasmund Andersen


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Here you can find writings I have done in relation to the work on my thesis for the Cand. Polit. degree in Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo. The thesis was finalised June 2002, with the title "Transforming Ethnic Nationalism - the Politics of Ethno-Nationalistic Sentiments in Kosovo" (205 pages). It is available at libraries in Norway, registered in the BIBSYS electronical archive (post 021654786).

frontpage cover The full version of "Transforming Ethnic Nationalism" is published in PDF format (1.4 MB) here. (or full text version)

The problem of investigation is:

What are the premises for a process in which the high culture in Kosovo de-emphasise ethno-nationalistic sentiments and enhance a multi-cultural society of tolerance and in respect of human rights values?

The analysis investigates the following hypothesises that is found to be crucial to the above problem:

1. Albanian high culture in Kosovo is currently in a process of diversification after a period where the Albanian ethnie has been mobilised and united as a result of Serbian state oppression, violence and threats of extinction.

2. There are changes in the civil society where a new high culture emerges partly as a response to international support and implementation of rule of law, as well as the re-establishment of Albanian trans-national communities.

3. This new high culture represents a group that the international elite for many reasons find easy to co-operate with, and the group is therefore developing a vital part of the new government and civil society; they provide vertical integration for 'western' ideas and the legitimacy of the international community.

4. The international community has a positive impact on the society as they display an example of successful multi-culturalism by being represented by most of the biggest nations of the world.

5. Territorial identity can be promoted as to counter-balance ethno-nationalistic sentiments.

Studies of Ethnicity and Nationalism


Transforming Ethnic Nationalism in Kosovo

  • "Transforming Ethnic Nationalism - the Potential of the 'Kosovar' Idenitity". Presented at the SouthWest / Texas Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association Conference 14.2.02.

    This paper considers the preconditions needed for the territorial 'kosovar' identity to transcend the current political discourse that is based on ethnicity and ethno-nationalistic aspirations. Three relations are analysed; the 'kosovar' identity and pan-Albanianism, its relation to the minorities, and how the international community relates to the 'kosovar' identity.

    It concludes that the enhancement of the 'kosovar' identity is interwined with the success of the interim government and the provincial assembly in particular. If good governance is achieved, the 'kosovar' identity can eventually be enhaced over ethnic idenities throughout Kosovo. The UN administration has already created kosovo-unique symbol of representation and will, through enhancing congruence between the sentiments of the people of Kosovo and its self-governmental institutions, promote a 'Kosovo' civic nationalism. Within the international community present in Kosovo, there is however an internal sensorship with regards to discussing how policies can or will affect the identity of the people it governs, as it contradicts the UNSCR 1244.

  • Popular Patriotic Songs in Kosovo. Some of the most popular modern songs in Kosovo today translated into english (preliminary translation). Pristina, December 2000.
  • Preliminary Abstract of thesis : "Transforming Ethnic Nationalism in Kosovo - the politics of ethno-nationalistic sentiments in Kosovo",

    The Kosovo-Albanian elite and high culture is primarily concerned with enacts an ethno-nationalistic politics based upon a Grand Story of oppression and resistance. Political leadership is a continuation of social organisation, thus making rational discourse in civil society difficult and even irrelevant. The emerging new high culture of returning emigrants play an important role as mediators between the elder high culture and the international elite in the process of introducing democracy and governance according to international European standards.

    The creation of democratic self-governance institutions in Kosovo has strengthened territorial identity; both as a result of the acceptance of ethnic minorities and their incorporation into society, and as the government is perceived as servicing the whole population and operating according to international standards of 'good governance'. The 'Kosovar' identity has the potential of becoming a supra-ethnic identity based upon citizenship in the UNMIK state, thus creating a civic nationalism that can counter-balance the dominant ethno-nationalistic politics of today.

    The AAK youth group during the opening of their election campaign, September 2000 (they are having fun while shouting for the leader of the party, Ramush Haradinaj).


    About the Author

    I started working with the Balkans in 1996, first in youth projects in Bosnia and for bosnian refugees in Norway, then for Norwegian People's Aid and its humanitarian programmes in Albania and Kosovo until January 2000. Going through the refugee crisis and the build-up of international community's presence in Kosovo after the NATO bombings, it was naturally for me to choose to write my Cand.Polit. thesis on Kosovo. I designed the outline of the research project for investigating the Nation-Building process in Kosovo automn 1999. Because I needed a brake, I made some travels (see travel letters overland Islamabad - Dehli) before I startet my field research in Kosovo in September 2000.


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