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Peace-Building in Kosovo and the Narrow Narrative of Multiculturalism

Elisa Randazzo
University of Westminster
Pol Bargues Pedreny
University of Westminster
Elisa Randazzo
University of Westminster
Open Panel

Abstract

This paper explores how multiculturalism has been conceived and implemented via the liberal Peace-Building strategy adopted by UNMIK in Kosovo. The liberal peace-building paradigm seeks to promote multiculturalism as a tool of peacemaking, for the purpose of resolving and achieving a political resolution to existing ethnic conflicts. The promotion of “Multiculturalism” has been one of the primary concerns of the Peace-Building mission in Kosovo since 1999. While this is a worthy aim we argue that the manner in which the policy has been implemented has been counterproductive. The paper highlights how a particularly narrow understanding of multiculturalism has promoted a multicultural approach at State level, which supports the existence of diverse groups, but which has ultimately imposed homogeneity within communities, as it has taken for granted already defined groups, omitting possible hybrid or ambiguous identities. The imposition of the ethnic decentralisation policy in Kosovo, aimed at implementing this narrow conceptualisation of multiculturalism, has resulted in the polarization of identities, thus perpetuating and institutionalising the existing ethnic divide. This application of multiculturalism has imposed an uncritical engendering of identities and has resulted in a non-organic, undeveloped, fictional peace, therefore undermining the liberal ethos of the Peace-Building endeavour in Kosovo.