1st Edition

Feminist Encounters in Statebuilding The Role of Women in Making the State in Kosovo

Edited By Vjosa Musliu, Itziar Mujika Chao Copyright 2024
    176 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume provides one of the first comprehensive feminist readings of international statebuilding, with a specific focus on the case of Kosovo.

    Rather than simply showing how the state in Kosovo is being built by and through women and feminist encounters, this volume is interested to problematise women and feminist subjectivities vis-à-vis the state and statebuilding. The book challenges three main arguments related to the processes and subjects of statebuilding in Kosovo. First, the academic literature on Kosovo has a tendency to take the international intervention of 1999 as the originary point of statebuilding processes in Kosovo. Second, and relatedly, given Kosovo's unprecedented exposure to Western intervention and statebuilding, the majority of works start from the presumption that liberal interventionism in Kosovo (and elsewhere) is normatively more progressive than the previous system, and that the liberal interventionism and statebuilding are naturally gender progressive and gender-equal. The third argument has to do with the existing legal architecture on gender and women’s rights in contemporary Kosovo. The aim of the volume is to, on the one hand, problematise the evidence against the backdrop of everyday manifestations and/or performances of statebuilding and on the other hand interrogate the co-constitutive gender aspect. In terms of methodology, the volume brings together contributions that rely on traditional and multi-sited ethnography, and narrative research rooted in projects and initiatives in Kosovo. This allows the contributors to unearth new and silenced actors, entry points, subjects and subjectivities in processes of and related to statebuilding in Kosovo; feminist frictions and challenges to statebuilding in Kosovo; as well as encounters of heteronormative statebuilding.

    This book will be of much interest to students of statebuilding, Balkan politics, feminisms, and international relations, in general.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND) 4.0 International license.

    1. Introduction: Feminist Encounters of Statebuilding 

    Vjosa Musliu and Itziar Mujika Chao

    Section I - Kosovo: The Unwomanly Face of the War 

    2. Subversive Stories of Women Activists as Counter-Memory: “I Was Considered a Stubborn”    

    Lirika Demiri 

    3. How Women KLA Combatants Complicated Notions of Patriarchy and Masculinity

    Adem Ferizaj 

    4. Women’s Individual and Collective Labour of Care during the Kosovo War: The Overlooked Heroines

    Erjona Gashi 

    Section II - Places and Spaces of Women in War And Peace 

    5. On the Lack of Women’s Representation in the Museum of Kosovo: The Paradox of the 'Goddess on the Throne’

    Andi Haxhiu 

    6. Gender Violence, Recognition and State Responsibilities

    Ardiana Shala and Blerina Këllezi 

    Section III - (Re)making Kosovo. (Re)making Gender 

    7. Reconfiguring Womanhood: The Making of Gender and the State in the Newly Independent Kosovo

    Rozafa Berisha 

    8. Contesting and/or Legitimising Kosovo’s Independence: The Case of Women MPs in the National Parliament of Kosovo

    Enduena Klajiqi 

    9. Conclusion: Other(ed) Ways to Understand Statebuilding

    Itziar Mujika Chao and Vjosa Musliu 


    Vjosa Musliu is Assistant Professor of international relations at the Department of Political Science, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). She is also a co-series editor of the Routledge Studies in Intervention and Statebuilding series.

    Itziar Mujika Chao is a faculty member at the Department of Political Science and affiliated researcher at the Hegoa Institute for International Cooperation and Development Studies, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU).

    'This volume bears the keen sight of its editors and the exertion of scholars from and of Kosovo to impact the uneven space of knowledge production about this social and political space. It is both a collection and a proposal for the contours of ongoing inter-generational and inter-disciplinary conversations giving shape to future critical, feminist and gendered analyses of state-building.'

    Nita Luci, Ambassador of Kosovo to Norway

    'Feminist Encounters in Statebuilding, as its editors rightly argue, does much more than fill an obvious gap in the literature on statebuilding, which has thus far paid little attention to gender, even less so to feminist perspectives. The edited volume goes much further: thanks to the feminist lens, this collection of essays opens new research agendas and novel ways to think of statebuilding, far beyond the usual foci on institution-building and the rule of law. Memory, activism, justice, care - these are the themes that highlight both women’s contributions to the statebuilding process and the silences that make them invisible. This is a book that should be a must read for all those interested in liberal interventionism as the defining political project of our times.'

    Aida Hozić, University of Florida, USA

    'This book takes an innovative approach to women, gender, and state-building, drawing on an intensive interrogation of oral sources, discursive practices, everyday encounters, and mental maps. Its theoretical and methodological contribution to the field is genuinely original.'

    Anna Di Lellio, New York University, USA

    'Written by a new generation of theoretically highly alert and critically engaged young Albanian scholars in and from Kosovo, this book offers fresh and illuminating insights of Kosovo women’s pertinent, yet mostly ignored, experiences and agency before, during, and after the 1999-conflict. The assembled case studies explore the subjective experiences of (mostly) ethnic Albanian women as fighters, victims, students, care givers, human rights activists, memory entrepreneurs, and politicians. The analyses historicise, situate, and trace these both ordinary and extraordinary women’s struggles to claim and negotiate voice and space against a backdrop of systemic omission or oppression. They show how Kosovar women challenged and counteracted (unless they resigned to, or even reproduced), both entrenched and shifting, heteronormative and patriarchal gender conventions at all levels of societal interactions – from family, local, and national, to international. Overall, the studies expand the paradigmatic character of the Kosovo case in international relations studies by demonstrating the benefits of exploring statebuilding processes through a critical-analytical gender lense.'

    Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers, Bournemouth University, UK

    'This must-read book, focusing on feminist activism and feminist thinking in Kosovo, provides a comprehensive analysis of the multifaceted aspects of the Kosovo state-building process across its various stages. Each chapter serves as a piece of the mosaic, contributing to an aggregate feminist understanding of the topic in the context of Kosovo. An insightful and thought-provoking work of feminist contemporary academic literature from Kosovo about Kosovo.'

    Elife (Eli) Krasniqi